REPORT FROM ROCKLAND COUNTY DA’S OFFICE
Rockland County District Attorney Thomas P. Zugibe today announced that 36-year-old Jonathan Elwell of Parkside Drive, Suffern has been sentenced to five years in state prison following a jury trial that found him guilty of:
• One count of assault in the second degree, a class “D” felony
• Two counts of vehicular assault in the second degree, class “E” felonies
• One count of leaving the scene of an accident with serious physical injury, a class a class “E” felony
• Two counts of DWI, class “A” misdemeanors
relating to a head-on collision in Ramapo that nearly killed another driver.
District Attorney Zugibe said, “The Rockland County District Attorney’s Office has zero tolerance when it comes to individuals getting behind the wheel while their ability to drive is impaired by alcohol or drugs. In this case, the defendant has been held accountable for his crimes and faces jail time and additional sanctions as punishment.”
On October 14, 2015 at approximately 12:48 a.m., the defendant, while operating his 2011 Mercedes-Benz westbound on Route 202 in Montebello, collided head-on with the victim’s 2001 Cadillac. Immediately following the collision, an eyewitness observed the defendant attempting to re-start his vehicle’s engine.
Elwell eventually fled the accident scene by running down Route 202 and stumbling into a wooded area.
Approximately three hours later, the defendant contacted Ramapo Police stating that: (1) he was involved in a traffic accident; (2) he blacked out; (3) he remembered an accident, but nothing else; (4) he was alone in the car.
Officers located Elwell at the intersection of Route 202 and Bayard Lane, a half-mile from the accident site in an intoxicated state. More than five hours after the collision, experts put the defendant’s blood alcohol content (BAC) at .11.
An investigation into the crash revealed that Elwell did not brake or attempt to avoid a collision with the victim’s Cadillac, as the victim attempted unsuccessfully to avoid being struck. The victim was treated at both Good Samaritan Hospital and Westchester Medical Center, where he underwent multiple surgeries on his left leg, right hip and right foot.
The accident left the victim unable to walk without the use of a cane.
Following the jury verdict, the Honorable Judge David Zuckerman dismissed one count of vehicular assault in the second degree pursuant to a post-trial motion decision. Senior Assistant District Attorney Michael Dugandzic and Assistant District Attorney Marissa Licata prosecuted the case.