Posted at: 06/28/2012 11:51 AM
| Updated at: 06/28/2012 5:44 PM
By: Abigail Bleck
STEPHENTOWN –The tire marks in the mud and the remnants of a car found on Cranston Hill Road this afternoon were difficult to see for Levi Borghi. Not just because the vehicle involved almost hit him before flipping. But also because, Borghi claims, he called 911 and recognized a friend behind the wheel: 20 year old Brendan Hoffman.
"He was very nervous, very scared...shaken up in complete shock and didn't know what to do with himself," says Borghi of Hoffman immediately following the 1am crash.
According to Borghi, and the Rensselaer County Sheriff, minutes after the accident but before rescue crews arrived, a car driven by another friend just happened to pass by. Hoffman allegedly jumped in and the vehicle drove away. So investigators treated the case as a one person accident until, they say, four hours later when Hoffman's father called them to report that his son had a passenger: 24 year old Christopher Baker.
"I looked and didn't see anyone else...over the side, it was pitch dark and hard to see in the dark," explains Borghi.
Rescue crews returned to the scene at dawn and searched the woods. They found Baker's lifeless body more than a hundred feet away from the crash site.
Through tears this afternoon at the family home, Brian Baker described his son, an RPI Junior, as "a wonderful kid, selfless to a fault."
Brian Baker also wanted to share advice for parents, "Tell them (kids) you love them. Hug them every day. Help them become better people and remember you live life hanging by a thread and that thread can be snapped at any moment."
The least of the charges Hoffman faces is leaving the scene of an accident. According to Sheriff Mahar, he might also be accused of killing a friend.
"That would all be determined based on the autopsy. We don't know if he died instantly or over time."
Borghi tells NewsChannel 13 he believes Baker and Hoffman, who he describes as very close friends, spent the evening at Baker's house.
"He's(Hoffman) gonna live with that the rest of his life--that's gonna be the worst punishment of it all."
Sheriff Mahar says it's unclear who transported Hoffman to Berkshire Medical Center. Mahar says there were beer bottles found at the scene and an investigation will determine if they were already on the side of the road or if they were in the car.