Law Talk: Suspect in hit and run could face vehicular manslaughter, expect “lengthy” process

Law Talk

Attorney Matthew Buzzetti from the Law Office of Kevin P. Flynn discussed Tuesday night’s hit and run case and what additional charges the suspect could be facing.

Charles Rogers, the 68-year-old man who was struck by a vehicle in Elmira on Tuesday, died as a result of his injuries at Arnot Ogden Medical Center, according to the Elmira Heights Police Department.

Rogers was struck after an alleged hit and run on Grand Central Avenue Tuesday afternoon. 

Sara Harnas, 40, of Elmira Heights has been charged with the following, and more charges are pending.

  • Leaving the Scene of an Accident 
  • Aggravated Unlicensed Operation 1st Degree, a class E Felony.

Buzzetti said police have 6 months from Tuesday to finalize the charges and formally indict Harnas. At that stage, the charges can either increase or decrease.

“In this case, I wouldn’t be surprised to see some sort of vehicular homocide or vehicular manslaughter charge[…]with a minimum state prison term of 1-3, maximum of 5-15,” Buzzetti said. “And that’s going to depend in large part on “BAC,” if there’s anything in her bloodstream, if she had a license or if she doesn’t.”

Buzzetti said this process is “lengthy,” because in order to finalize the charges, a blood test is needed. “The state crime labs here are way overworked,” Buzzetti said. “Getting those blood test results back even in the six-month window sometimes is difficult.”

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