Posted at: 02/28/2013 10:51 AM
| Updated at: 02/28/2013 6:16 PM
By: Mark Mulholland
QUEENSBURY - A crying Deana Olsen was comforted in the courtroom Thursday afternoon just after learning that a judge found her guilty of criminally negligent homicide.
The 36-year-old wife and mother of two was convicted after a two day trial in which 15 witnesses testified.
Olsen was driving a Jeep Grand Cherokee when she veered off Route 4 in Kingsbury and struck and killed Terry Brownell who was innocently mowing her lawn.
"It's just a terrible, terrible thing. Terry Brownell should be alive today but for the defendant's actions," said Washington County District Attorney Kevin Kortright.
Olsen was indicted on eight counts, including the most serious charges of manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter, but after the second day of testimony in the non-jury trial, Judge Kelly McKeighan dismissed those counts, and a charge that Olsen was under the influence of drugs at the time of the the crash.
Olsen admitted smoking pot a few days earlier, but prosecutors failed to prove she was high at the time.
The top remaining count was criminally negligent homicide.
"The court, as the finder of facts, as to count one, criminally negative homicide finds the defendant guilty," said Judge McKeighan.
She was also found guilty of reckless driving, using a cell-phone while driving and failure to keep right.
Olsen wasn't talking after the verdict, but her attorney was, calling the judge's decision as a victory.
"That's a fair, good outcome for us," said Marc Zuckerman. "Of course we're disappointed that he convicted her of any crime, because I still maintain that my client didn't commit any crime and this is a tragic accident. And not every car accident is a crime."
Olsen remains free on her own recognizance until her March 28 sentencing.