KINGSTON – Danny Griffin, age 32, of Shandaken, received a sentence of 2 1/3 to 7 years in state prison Oct. 17, 2017, in Ulster County Court upon his conviction of Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree.
The case stemmed from a morning collision on State Rt. 28 in the Town of Olive near Dancing Rock Road on Aug. 25, 2015, according to the Ulster County D.A.
Griffin, operating a 2001 Toyota Sienna, veered into the eastbound lane of traffic and collided with 64-year-old Delores Falkowski, of Woodland Valley, operating a Subaru. Falkowski died as a result of her injuries. Falkowski was on her way to work in Kingston at the time of the crash.
An exhaustive investigation alleged that Griffin had purchased heroin mixed with Fentanyl in Newburgh in the early morning hours of Aug. 25, 2015. A witness in southern Ulster County revealed that Griffin had injected himself with the drugs in her presence prior to Griffin driving north to Shandaken.
A search warrant for Griffin’s hospital blood was obtained by the New York State Police and subsequently tested by two separate labs.
District Attorney Holley Carnright notes the toxicologist hired by the Ulster County District Attorney’s Office confirmed that the amount of Fentanyl in Griffin’s blood would have impaired his ability to operate a car. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid, is over fifty times more potent than morphine.
“This was a frustrating investigation which highlights a recurring issue we have. NYS privacy laws make it very difficult for the prosecutor to access a defendant’s medical records. In fact, even under these circumstances, ie, a head-on collision at 7:30 a.m. contraband found in the car, and the presence of Fentanyl in the driver’s blood, our application for accessing Griffin’s medical records was turned down,” said District Attorney Holley Carnright.