Driver gets 1 to 3 years in prison for leaving scene of crash that killed South Glens Falls man
A Moreau man was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prison for leaving the scene of a crash that killed a retired Glens Falls teacher — after 90 minutes of emotional testimony from the victim’s family members.
John Lincoln-Lynch struck Paul Trombley on Main Street in South Glens Falls on Feb. 27, 2022.
Lincoln Lynch, 57, had pleaded guilty on Sept. 12 to leaving the scene of an incident without reporting death just as jury selection was getting under way.
Trombley’s daughter, Beth Wildes, said her father was the most important person in her world.
Wildes said she talked to her father every day multiple times a day. He was her hero and rock, gave her someone to talk to, be inspired by and be comforted by.
“Even though I have memories to cherish for the rest of my life. I am angry that future memories were ripped away,” she said.
She saw him for the last time on the day of the accident. She lives in Massachusetts and had driven two hours to meet him for lunch near the border.
For some reason, Wildes said she was very emotional when they parted and kept going back for more hugs. She called him again later that night and he said he was going to go out for ice cream.
Later that night, she saw on Facebook the news of a serious accident near Stewart’s and read about the dead man in the road.
“I will never forget what happened after. I stood up out of my chair and fell because I just knew that that man was my dad,” she said.
Wildes said she can’t stop thinking about her father laying on the cold pavement — and Lincoln-Lynch just fleeing the scene.
“If you had stopped your vehicle that night, we probably wouldn’t be here today,” she said. “This would have been considered an accident. How you could hide for almost 48 hours after the accident?”
Her two sons have lost their grandfather and will never get to hear him laugh or have them call them by their silly nicknames or go to their sporting events.
“It’s a void that can never be filled and there’s nothing I can ever do to help them,” she said.
Paul Trombley came from a family of 11 children and many of them provided statements to the court — most in writing, but some in person.
Brother Benjamin Trombley told the court that he was in the military — as was Lincoln-Lynch.
“I was taught honor, commitment, integrity and honesty,” he said. “John Lincoln-Lynch shows none of these qualities.”
“John Lincoln-Lynch has shown he’s dishonest man with zero compassionate and respect for humanity,” Benjamin Trombley added.
In a letter, brother Ron Trombley recalled the line of mourners at the service went on for five hours.
“There weren’t any breaks. It was continuous. I could never have imagined that Paul touched so many lives — not just those close to him,” he said.
His neighbors, who were also teachers, also wrote letters saying how Paul took them under his wing to share advice about teaching.
Trombley’s widow, Lucinda Trombley, was the last speaker. The couple was married for 47 years, 7 months and 8 days.
“Paul was my teacher, my coach and my cheerleader, my partner, my travel company, my dinner date, my nurse and my patient. My best friend. The love of my life. So many parts of my heart are missing. Paul was taken so suddenly and unexpectedly and so violently,” she said.
Lucinda Trombley recalled having to go to the scene and identify her husband’s sneakers that were knocked off his feet after Paul was dragged under the Lincoln-Lynch’s car down the road.
“This man killed my husband, Paul Trombley, and left him laying in the road,” she said.
She wrapped up saying that her life will never be the same again.
“I have been given a sentence of life without Paul. I am emotionally drained. I do not sleep well and have moments of complete numbness.”
She said “half of my heart is missing.”
“I beg you your honor to sentence him to the maximum sentence possible, so he can suffer with his regrets like I will suffer the rest of my life,” she said.
When given the opportunity to speak, Lincoln-Lynch said if he had known he struck a person, he would have stopped.
“I would change places with him if I could,” he said. “I’m truly sorry. I want them to know that I did not know he was there in the road.”
Judge James Murphy said the court will never know Lincoln-Lynch’s motivation for leaving the scene. However, Lincoln-Lynch returned later that evening after helping his daughter with an issue with a tire, he should have seen the large law enforcement presence at the accident.
“Even if we were to give you the benefit of the doubt initially, once you traveled by that crime scene again, no doubt in anyone’s mind, you should have stopped,” Murphy said.
Instead, Lincoln-Lynch went home and did not take responsibility for his actions. It was not until two days later when investigators from the Saratoga County Sheriff’s Office linked a piece of his Subaru to the crime, that they showed up at his door. After initially denying his involvement, Lincoln-Lynch broke down and confessed.
“To me, the denial and the obfuscation of the investigation and your failure to take responsibility is why you’re standing in this courtroom,” Murphy said.
Murphy said the family’s statements have painted a vivid picture of Paul Trombley as a loving and devoted family man, friend and teacher.
“While the court recognizes the extraordinary impact this crime has on family, friends, neighbors, people who knew him, the law simply does not allow for the sentence that the family would like,” Murphy said.
“That is a sentence that makes no one happy, but nevertheless that is what has been agreed to,” Murphy added.
Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen said in a statement that the case shows how the law needs to evolve. She and the family both support proposed legislation that would close existing loopholes in the law and elevate this crime to a Class C, which would carry a sentence of 5 to 15 years in prison.