Murder charged in I-81 fatal crash

BY STACI WILSON

A New York man faces a third degree murder charge in what police say was a drug-related crash that killed an Endicott, N.Y., man in on Interstate 81.

David Decker, 73, stopped his vehicle on the right shoulder of the highway. He was outside the driver’s side of his 2010 Chevrolet Traverse when a vehicle, driven by Dylan Schmiel, left the right lane, crossed the white fog line and traveled onto the shoulder striking the Traverse, then hitting the Endicott man.

The Traverse traveled northward a short distance and came to rest on an embankment. Decker was thrown a short distance and was on the shoulder of the road, behind his vehicle.

Schmiel’s vehicle also continued in a northerly direction, spinning counter-clockwise and came to rest on the median.

In addition to the third degree murder charge, Schmiel, 23, of Glen Falls, N.Y., was also charged by Tpr. Eric Burns with felony counts of homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence; aggravated assault by vehicle while DUI; homicide by vehicle.

He has also been charged with misdemeanor counts of use/possession of drug paraphernalia; DUI: controlled substance; involuntary manslaughter; recklessly endangering another person; and related summary offenses of disregard traffic lane; driving at safe speed; and careless driving.

A preliminary hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Police were assisted at the scene by Great Bend-Hallstead EMS and fire police. A passenger in Decker’s vehicle, Judith Decker, 71, sustained a minor injury.

Schmiel also sustained a minor injury in the crash.

The May 10 crash shut down the highway for about three hours as traffic was diverted off I-81 in New Milford.

The charges were filed last week in New Milford District Court. A preliminary hearing has not yet been scheduled.