Thursday, September 18, 2014

News
Trial date set for Daniel Conklin in connection to deadly crash
By JOLEEN FERRIS


HERKIMER, N.Y. (WKTV) - A trial date has been set for Daniel Conklin, the man accused in a high speed chase that started in a school zone and then turned deadly.

The chase began May 25, 2012 near Herkimer High School and ended just a few miles west on Route 5 in Schuyler in a horrific crash that killed 65-year-old Gail Pietruska, and severely injured her sister, 54-year-old Louis Medallis.

Authorities say speeds reached more than 80 miles per hour during the chase, creating unsafe conditions that led the pursuing officer to decide it was time to back off. The officer's cruiser was not involved in the crash.

A judge has set a March 11 trial date for Conklin, but that is only after the defendant undergoes a psychiatric exam.

"An exam has been ordered by the court which could inevitably delay the hearings or trial, depending on the outcome of that examination," Herkimer County District Attorney Jeffrey Carpenter said. "That's an examination to determine whether or not, for reason of mental disease or defect, the defendant understands the proceedings against him, has that capacity, and can assist in his defense."

The judge has scheduled some standard hearings before that March trial date. Those hearings will take place at the end of January and will involve how police identified Conklin as a suspect in the case, as well as the suppression of statements he allegedly made to police.

Plea discussions happened Tuesday, but the prosecutor has yet to discuss any possible plea deals with the victim's sister.