Driver in Port Ewen car-bike fatal did time for DWI death

Ulster County sheriff’s deputies say an Esopus man charged with vehicular manslaughter in a Sept. 14 incident which took the life of a bicyclist had been convicted of the same crime nearly two decades ago.

Deputies say John J. Ronk, 40, of Port Ewen had been drinking at home and was under the influence of alcohol around 7:28 p.m. on Sept. 14 when he was driving a 2004 Nissan X-Terra on New Salem Road. Deputies say Ronk crossed into an opposite lane, struck a guardrail then hit Brian A. Jones, 41, of Kingston who was riding a bicycle in the opposite direction. Jones was taken to HealthAlliance Hospital’s Broadway Campus where he succumbed to his injuries. Ronk was arrested at the scene and arraigned in Esopus Town Court. Ronk was charged with aggravated vehicular homicide and sent to the Ulster County Jail without bail.

Detectives are being assisted by members of the state police’s Collision Reconstruction Unit and Forensic Investigation Unit, as well as the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office. Police said that the investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be filed.

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Ronk was convicted of vehicular manslaughter in Dutchess County in November 2000. State records show that he served 18 months of a one-to-three-year sentence in state prison before he was released in July 2002.

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