A Saugerties man pleaded guilty to the felony of vehicular assault and the misdemeanor of driving while intoxicated in Ulster County Court last week. John Tyler Kuhn, 35, admitted to being drunk while driving and striking a tree alongside Route 32 on Jan. 6, which launched two passengers out of the backseat of his Mercedes-Benz convertible and trapped a third in the vehicle’s crushed passenger bay after it rolled over several times. Two of the passengers, 23-year-old Brittany Ruskie of Saugerties and 24-year-old Keishawn Blanch of Kingston, were airlifted to Albany Medical Center for what authorities called “catastrophic,” life-threatening injuries; Kuhn, other than facial lacerations, was unscathed.
A police investigation, carried out by the Saugerties Police Department, state police and the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office, determined that Kuhn ignored a double yellow line, attempted to pass another vehicle at a high rate of speed and lost control of his vehicle when he swerved to avoid a head-on collision with an oncoming vehicle. He admitted during plea proceedings on May 17 that he had been drinking alcohol to the point of intoxication before the crash.
Kuhn’s sentencing hearing is scheduled for July 19 in Ulster County Court before Judge Donald A. Williams.