CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. — Dickie Winn, 59, the defendant in a two-car fatality in Clifton Park in May and his attorney Jeffrey Lapham failed to appear in Clifton Park Town Court last week for a hearing before Town Justice James Hughes.

Winn, of Cohoes, is accused of causing a two-car crash at the corner of Ushers Road and Route 9 in Clifton Park on May 25 that killed the driver and one passenger in the second car and injured three other passengers traveling in that car.

Because of the severity of the charges it has been understood by both sides for quite a while that the case will be tried in Saratoga County Court in Ballston Spa. Winn’s attorney Jeffrey Lapham said Monday he thought the case had been moved up to the county court, and it was that miscommunication that caused the failure of he and his client to appear in town court.

“It was a miscommunication. I’ve waived the matter to county court and just waiting for a date,” he said. “I got an offer from the people and thought it had already been waived out of the court to county court.”

Lapham said he expects to have an appearance date in court within the next week.

“My client in generally contrite,” he said. “I’ve been doing this for 20 years, and I’ve not had a client as contrite as he is. He hasn’t left town; he’s a disabled veteran and he’s in treatment for his disabilities.”

In an earlier town court appearance on May 29, Winn pleaded not guilty to the charges before Hughes. As part of the proceeding, Hughes set bail at $100,000 cash or $300,000 bond despite a request from Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen that no bail be set because he was a flight risk.

After spending more than a week in the county correctional facility Winn was released on bond.

Since that May 29 appearance two further town court appearance dates have been postponed. The failure of both the attorney and his client to appear in court last week seemed to perplex Hughes more than anger him.

“I have no problem issuing a bench warrant,” he said during the brief proceeding, “but I’m concerned with forfeiting $100,000 bail due to a breakdown in communication.”  

Instead of issuing the warrant for Winn’s immediate arrest, Hughes set a town court date for Winn for the following week. He added that a letter be sent to Winn via registered mail informing him that he must appear in court on that date or he will issue a bench warrant which will, in turn, forfeit the $100,000 bail.

As part of the brief proceeding, Saratoga County Assistant District Attorney Shawn Lescault told Hughes the people have made Winn a plea offer reducing the three counts to one charge of aggravated vehicular homicide, a Class B felony. If Winn accepts the plea, he could receive a maximum sentence between seven and 21 years in prison.

On Monday Winn’s attorney, said he was aware of the offer, but preferred to make no comment.

The accident happened shortly before 3 p.m. May 25 at the intersection of Route 9 and Ushers Road in Clifton Park. According to legal filings with the court, Winn’s black, 2016 Dodge Ram 1500 truck is alleged to have been traveling southbound on Route 9 when it left its lane of travel and struck a black, four-door Cadillac sedan, which had been traveling east on Ushers Road but was stopped at the traffic signal at Route 9 and Ushers Road.

Documents filed in town court by the New York State Police as part of Winn’s arraignment state he had a .16 percent BAC at the time of the incident.

The crash killed the car’s driver John Heneghan, 33 and his wife Caitlyn J. Holtzman, 32, and injured Luke O’Doherty, 25, Enda Crowley, 25, and Julia Staples, 24. Facebook pages show Heneghan, O’Doherty, and Crowley were natives of Ireland working in the U.S.

Winn was arrested and charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, two counts of vehicular manslaughter, and driving while intoxicated.

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