Herkimer Town Court justice accused of drunk-driving, crashing SUV into former Kmart

A Herkimer Town Court justice has been charged with DWI after allegedly crashing his vehicle into the former Kmart.

Posted: Dec. 13, 2018 11:00 AM
Updated: Dec. 14, 2018 9:49 AM

HERKIMER, N.Y. -- A Herkimer Town Court justice has been charged with DWI after allegedly crashing his vehicle into the former Kmart.

Police say 49-year-old Michael Petucci crashed his SUV into the side of the former Kmart building in Herkimer Wednesday night.

The Ford Explorer was badly damaged in the crash that happened around 9:30 p.m. The impact of the hit was so violent, the front wheel came off, and the airbag was deployed. Petucci was injured, and taken to a local hospital for treatment. 

Police say the vehicle struck the west wall of the building on South Washington Street.

Petucci, a Herkimer Town Justice for the past 11 years, was also recently installed as president of the New York State Magistrates Association. 

"We are aware of the issue regarding Justice Michael Petucci. At this time, it is important to let the legal process run its course. We will be closely monitoring the situation," said Executive Director, Hon. Tanja Sirago. 

The Hon. James Tormey, Administrative Judge for the 5th Judicial District, says Petucci will not be on the bench December 18, as scheduled, and that Herkimer Justice Manne will be filling in for Petucci. 

Town Supervisor, Dominic Frank, says Petucci's status as an elected town justice has not changed, and that the town is consulting with attorneys to make sure proper procedure is followed. 

Petucci is charged with DWI and failure to submit a pre-screen.

The investigation is ongoing and additional charges may be pending.

Herkimer County Court Judge John Crandall will be appointing a special prosecutor for Petucci's case.

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