HANNIBAL — One teenager is dead and another is in critical condition after a Fulton man allegedly hit them with his truck Saturday then fled the scene.
Kaydence E. Nichols, 16, of Hannibal, suffered fatal injuries as a result of the alleged incident, which occurred between midnight and 1 a.m. Sept. 19, according to New York State Police. Riley P. Trumble, 17, also of Hannibal, was allegedly struck by the same truck at the same time, and was transported to Upstate University Hospital. He remains in critical condition as of noon Monday, according to law enforcement officials.
Christopher J. Rogers II, 29, of 217 Germandale Drive, Fulton, was arrested at 1:15 a.m. Saturday in connection to the alleged incident, according to police. Rogers has been charged with second-degree vehicular manslaughter and leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle accident, both class D felonies. He was also charged with second-degree vehicular assault, a class E felony, and driving while intoxicated, according to state police. Rogers was arraigned at approximately 6:45 p.m. Saturday in Oswego County centralized arraignment court and remanded to custody with bail set at $25,000 cash, $50,000 bond or $100,000 partially secured bond, according to officials.
Police on Monday told The Palladium-Times they have video of the scene on state Route 176 from a nearby security camera, and are asking for potential witnesses to assist with their investigation.
New York State Trooper Jack Keller said the alleged incident occurred at approximately 12:34 p.m. near Guernsey Road in Hannibal, roughly halfway between County Routes 7 and 8.
Nichols, Trumble and a third individual were walking on the shoulder of state Route 176, Keller said, when a 2015 Dodge Ram truck allegedly driven by Rogers struck them. Nichols was pronounced dead at the scene.
According to Keller, video reviewed by police shows a sedan travel through the same area roughly 14 seconds later.
“We know the driver of the sedan was not with (Rogers), and maybe they didn’t even know what happened,” Keller said. “It’s a dark road, not a lot of people travel through that area, but if you have any information — please contact us.”
Tips can be supplied anonymously to the New York State Police at 315-366-6000.
Rogers allegedly did not stop after hitting the two teenagers, and traveled a short distance away to a location in Cayuga County, police said. He then allegedly returned to the scene of the accident, where troopers responding to the accident noticed damage to his windshield and evidence of a collision with a person or animal. Officers attempted to get Rogers to stop his truck, but he allegedly did not immediately do so. It was finally “a few miles down the road,” Keller said, when troopers were able to able to flag him down.
Rogers then allegedly refused a Breathalyzer test and was placed into police custody where he remains, according to Oswego County Correctional Facility records. The Oswego County District Attorney’s Office and state police executed a warrant to draw Rogers’ blood, which is currently undergoing testing, police said. The timeframe for the return of results for that testing is unclear. The blood tests will influence what charges he will eventually face, officials said. If an individual kills another person in New York while driving a vehicle and their blood alcohol content (BAC) is alleged to be above .18, prosecutors can charge the individual with the C felony variety of vehicular manslaughter, which carries a prison sentence of five to 15 years. If an individual charged with vehicular manslaughter is alleged to have a BAC below .18, the case is prosecuted as a D felony (as Rogers’ currently is) — punishable by no worse than seven years in prison.
Oswego County District Attorney Greg Oakes said the charges against Rogers represent only allegations, and the Fulton man is innocent until proven guilty. Oakes also told The Palladium-Times Saturday after Rogers' arraignment that if the alleged hit-and-run occurred six months ago (before tweaks to the state's controversial bail reform laws), the court would have been "compelled to release him on his own recognizance."
"Even though second-degree vehicular manslaughter is a homicide offense, it was previously considered 'non-violent,'" said Oakes, who has joined other upstate officials in calling for even further amendments to the state's bail system due to what they say are glaring holes in its operation.
Police said the Hannibal Central School District has notified its students, and counseling services would be available at Hannibal High School on Monday, Sept. 21, 2020.
Troopers were assisted at the scene by multiple agencies including the city of Fulton Police Department, the Oswego County Sheriff’s Office, the Oswego County District Attorney’s Office, the Hannibal Fire Company and the Granby Center Fire Department.