Charnetski Bench Trial: Field sobriety test performance recounted

Local News

Day four of Caden Charnetski’s bench trial saw a recount of the 19-year-old’s performance on field sobriety tests in court Wednesday. 

Charnetski is pleading not guilty to vehicular manslaughter for the deaths of Matthew Matteson, 43, and his wife Harolyn Matteson, 42, in July 2018. 

Police have reported Charnetski was under the influence of marijuana prior to the deadly crash. 

New York State Trooper Brandon Salyerds said he noticed tremors in Charnetski’s eyelids, body and legs. 

He said Charnetki’s eyes were also bloodshot, watery, dilated and showed a lack of convergence.

The defense rebutted as Trooper Salyerds confirmed he didn’t keep a written record of Charnetski’s performance and these can also be symptoms after a tragic crash, like that of the Mattesons and Charnetski. 

Forensic Toxicologist, Elizabeth Spratt, then took the stand to testify on the impact and breakdown process of marijuana in the body. 

She said Charnetski was impaired from active THC at the time of the crash. 

THC is the psychoactive element in marijuana. 

Pathologist, Scott LaPointe, contradicted Spratt’s testimony by saying there is no way to know exactly how much THC was in Charnetski’s system at the time of the crash because of a number of unknown variables. 

These variables included how many hits Charnetski took, the Marijuana’s potency, how he responds to marijuana and how frequent he smokes, which can build a tolerance. 

LaPointe concluded it’s unsafe to drive under the influence of marijuana because it can impair critical skills for driving, like recognizing signs and making decisions. 

The bench trial runs through Friday but will resume 9 a.m. on Thursday as accident reconstruction takes the theme at the Chemung County Court. 

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