By Frank Rizzo
MONTICELLO An early morning crash on Tuesday in the Town of Lumberland left a New Jersey teen dead and his Barryville cousin facing a felony charge of aggravated vehicular homicide.
Two other Sullivan County teens were injured when the 2003 Mercedes S500 crossed the road and slammed into a tree.
Kyle MacKechnie of Westfield, NJ, was killed in the crash on Haring Rd. just before 3 a.m. on December 20. The three others in the vehicle managed to escape. Autopsy results were pending.
Charles Wolff, 18, the driver, was given field sobriety tests at the scene which he failed and was subsequently arrested. He underwent a chemical test to determine his blood alcohol content level. Results are still pending, according to District Attorney Jim Farrell.
“The charge is aggravated,” said Farrell. “It is alleged that [Wolff] engaged in reckless driving and while intoxicated caused the death of one individual and seriously injured two others.”
Farrell said Brian Conaty, 19, of Monticello, and Emily Hoffman, 19, of Highland Lake, were airlifted to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla, a Level I trauma center. He declined to comment on the nature of the injuries, but Conaty was reportedly in critical condition and Hoffman in serious condition.
Wolff was initially arraigned in the Town of Tusten Court and sent to the Sullivan County Jail on no bail.
Later, in County Court, Judge Frank LaBuda released Wolff on $10,000 bail.
“I did not agree. I had recommended he be remanded without bail,” Farrell said.
If convicted on the charge of vehicular homicide, a Class B felony, Wolff faces a minimum of 1-3 years to a maximum of 81/3-25 years in prison.
In addition, Wolff was charged with misdemeanor reckless driving and DWI, and violations for speeding and failure to keep right.
“It was horrific,” Farrell said of the crash site, which he visited later that morning. “In my estimation it’s a senseless and terrible tragedy.”
The Sheriff’s Office is the lead investigative agency, with assistance from the NYS Police Accident Reconstruction Unit. The Lumberland FD and its ambulance, assisted by American Legion Ambulance Corps of Eldred, responded.
Sheriff’s Office officials deferred comment to Farrell.
According to sources, MacKechnie spent every summer in Highland Lake and he and Wolff, in addition to being cousins, were friends who spent a lot of time together. He was a freshman at the University of Connecticut.
Hoffman is a freshman at West Virginia University, where Conaty also attended. She and Wolff are 2011 graduates of Eldred CS.
Wolff was a student at Potomac State College of West Virginia.
At press time it was learned that Hoffman had been stepped down from the ICU unit and Conaty was stable and responding well to multiple surgeries.