On Tuesday, July 25, Detectives charged Thomas F. McGrath with manslaughter and aggravated vehicular homicide, both felonies, and DWAI-Drugs and reckless driving both misdemeanors. He was also ticketed for failure to keep right and moving from a lane unsafely.
McGrath turned himself in at the police station, was processed and arraigned in Bethlehem Town Court by Judge Andrew Kirby $75,000 bond or $50,000 cash. McGrath did post a bond and was released under the supervision of Albany County Probation and his driver’s license was suspended pending prosecution. A return date was set for August 15.
On July 1, 2015 State Police arrested McGrath on Route 81 in Greenville and charged him with DWI. The case was adjudicated in Greenville Town Court and was pled down to DWAI.
This is an important detail because the reduction to DWAI means that police can only charge him with misdemeanor DWAI-Drugs in the current case, not elevate it to a felony.
State law allows for those convicted of DWI charges within the prior 10 years to be charged with felony DWI, which holds a maximum sentence that includes time in state prison.
According to DMV, a person is eligible to apply for a conditional license one year after a conviction of DWAI. McGrath did have a license at the time of the accident.
An internet search of McGrath’s name also revealed additional felony DWI charges, as other media have reported, but those charges from 2011 were for Thomas J. McGrath of Pomona, not Thomas F. McGrath. Both men are now 71, but Thomas J was born in October and Thomas F. was born in August.
McGrath’s attorney Steven Coffey confirmed that he did not have a felony DWI in 2011.