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Man arraigned in chase and deadly crash in Warren County

October 07, 2019 07:01 PM

QUEENSBURY - Skyler Crouse entered court Monday afternoon on crutches and wearing a mask over his mouth.

Judge John Hall asked the 30-year-old how he was doing.

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"Been better," said Crouse before the judge arraigned him on 12 counts, including manslaughter and first-degree assault.

Crouse is blamed for the September 26 crash on the Northway that killed Joseph Turcotte, a highly regarded Horicon boat builder.

The crash at the Exit 25 off-ramp followed a chase that began north of Exit 18 and police say reached more than 100 miles per hour.

"Skyler Blue Crouse," the defendant said when the judge asked him his full name, explaining that there was a spelling mistake made on his birth certificate.

Crouse didn't say much else in court, but according to the The Post-Star, he was talkative at the time of his arrest. According to court records - the paper obtained Monday afternoon, Crouse told police just after the crash that he was "mentally insane and on drugs."

He told State Police he used fentanyl and Percocet before the crash.

Troopers also quote Crouse as making arresting police an offer. "Let's make a deal. I can get you drugs and illegal aliens," police say he told them.

Just after the crash, Crouse told police he's from Akwesasne, the Indian Nation on the New York-Canada border.

"I am a natural-born citizen, your laws don't apply to me," he's alleged to have said.

However, Monday afternoon, he told the court he's from a small community in Onondaga County.

"Where's Nedrow?," the judge asked.  "Syracuse," said Crouse.

The judge entered a not guilty plea to all 12 counts and sent him to jail without bail.

Martin McGuinness, Crouse's court-appointed attorney, said he is planning to make a future bail argument.

Crouse was supposed to be arraigned on the indictment last week, but that was adjourned because he had to be treated for an infection related to the crash and a bite from a police dog he suffered when he tried to evade police.

The court ordered the mask over Crouse's face after he spit on a NewsChannel 13 photographer as he was being led into his initial arraignment.

Assault in the first-degree carries a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison. Manslaughter, which is considered a non-violent felony, carries a maximum sentence of five to 15 years.

Credits

Mark Mulholland

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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