Man who injured troopers, truck driver gets 2-6 years

August 13, 2018 12:29 PM

TROY – For Jeffrey Waite, Sr., it was painful not only to say the words but to even stand there and deliver them.

"None of us saw it coming,” said Waite, reading his victim-impact statement in Rensselaer County Court to Christopher Neumann, 27, of Castleton.

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"It was my fault,” Neumann would say later when he addressed the court.

"There really is no term of incarceration that will ever make your victims in this matter whole,” said Judge Debra Young.

Back on March 4 around 5 a.m., Waite and his brother John, from Waite’s Garage in Wynantskill, were working on a broken-down car on the side of I-90. There were two New York State Troopers also on the scene, Brent Karow and Shane Swartz. It was in the center median Exit 8 in North Greenbush with emergency lights blinking and flares burning.

That’s when Neumann came crashing into the tow truck. It sent Karow flying about 75’ to the guard rail and Swartz and Jeffrey Waite pinned under the tow truck.

In court on Monday, Neumann was sentenced in a plea bargain to two-to-six years in state prison for vehicular assault and Driving While Ability Impaired by drugs and alcohol. He admitted to taking prescription medication, smoking marijuana and drinking.

"I wasn't thinking,” Neumann said in court. “I wasn't thinking of the consequences of my actions, I wasn't thinking of anything but getting home. And because of that I almost took three lives and possibly a fourth."

Neither Trooper was in court but the Waite family was; Neumann had 10 supporters including his father on his side of the courtroom.
Said Sherri Waite, Jeffrey’s wife: "The muscles in his back were completely torn from his spine along with contusions of his hip, groin, head and many other parts of his body."

Jeffrey Waite: "I can no longer hold or play with my grandchildren like I used to, I cannot do the work my business provides without someone's assistance. I cannot dance with my wife like we used to."

"The victims have to live with this for the rest of their lives,” said Joel Abelove, Rensselaer County DA. “The psychological suffering and physical pain are going to be there forever."

"He has a loving family to which to return to but I know his heart is also broken for the pain that he caused other people,” said James Long, Neumann’s attorney.

"I hope that one day Officer Karow and Officer Swartz and perhaps Mr. Waite can accept my apology and I understand their anger toward me,” said Neumann before he was led off in handcuffs.


WNYT Staff

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