RAY BROOK — The driver of a pickup truck that crashed into a car in the Adirondacks while fleeing police, killing a couple and injuring their daughter, was high on drugs when he set off the pursuit with a hit-and-run accident in a crowded resort village, authorities said Friday.
Trever J. Sisto, 20, of Fort Covington, led state police and Lake Placid village police on a chase that ended with a fatal motor vehicle accident, claiming the lives of James Barney and his wife, Kimberley, both of Potsdam. Mrs. Barney’s 11-year-old daughter, Mr. Barney’s step-daughter, Emily Colby survived the crash, but suffered a fractured shoulder, pelvis and spine, and has undergone surgery. Her condition was upgraded from critical to serious.
State police charged Mr. Sisto with first-degree unlawfully fleeing a police officer, a class D felony, driving while ability impaired by drugs, reckless driving, speeding and failure to keep right. He was impaired by marijuana, state police said. Additional charges are anticipated as the investigation continues.
Lake Placid police additionally charged Mr. Sisto with first-degree attempted assault, a felony; first-degree reckless endangerment, a felony; three counts of endangering the welfare of a child, reckless driving and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. Lake Placid Police Chief William Moore said more charges are pending.
According to a release from state police, an autopsy was performed on Mr. Barney by Dr. C. Francis Varga, who determined the cause of death to be blunt force trauma consistent with a motor vehicle collision. Essex County Coroner Francis Whitelaw ruled the manner of death a homicide.
An autopsy also was performed on Mrs. Barney at Fletcher Allen Health Care Center, Burlington, Vt., by Dr. Steven L. Shapiro, Vermont chief medical examiner, who determined the cause of death to be blunt force trauma consistent with a motor vehicle collision and the manner of death to be accidental.
Chief Moore and State Police Troop B Commander Richard Smith Jr. held a news conference Friday to describe the events that led to the fatal motor vehicle collision Thursday in the town of North Elba.
At about 10 p.m. Wednesday, Mr. Sisto took his mother’s black F150 pickup from her residence without her permission, state police said. About 1 p.m. Thursday, Mr. Sisto was involved in a hit-and-run property damage accident in the village of Saranac Lake. Mr. Smith said Mr. Sisto fled the scene.
Mr. Moore said around 1:30 p.m. the pickup went at high speed down the alley next to the police department in the village of Lake Placid. Two officers on street patrol tried unsuccessfully to stop the vehicle. One of the officers followed Mr. Sisto in a small General Electric Motorcars vehicle that the police department uses for special events.
Mr. Moore said that at one point Mr. Sisto saw he was being followed by the officer in the GEM car, then backed the truck into the small vehicle, causing the GEM car to smash into a brick wall. The GEM car’s driver, Main Street Patrol Officer Josh Ashline, suffered minor injuries and was treated and released from the hospital, Mr. Moore said.
Mr. Sisto had three children in the pickup — ages 11, 13 and 16 — but dropped them off at a fast-food restaurant before speeding away again, troopers said. Witnesses told local media that the pickup traveled in the wrong lanes and onto village sidewalks crowded with visitors ahead of Sunday’s annual Ironman triathlon. No one was injured in those events.
Officials said troopers and Lake Placid police pursued the truck as it headed west on Route 86 toward Ray Brook, five miles away. In Ray Brook around 2 p.m., Mr. Sisto drove into oncoming traffic and collided with the Barneys’ car in front of the state Adirondack Park Agency offices and near the entrance to the State Police Troop B barracks.
Troopers immediately took him into custody. He was arraigned in North Elba Town Court early Friday morning and was being held in the Essex County jail on $100,000 bail.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
by Whitney Randolph
July 26, 2014