On Thursday 3/5/2020 at approximately 1630 hours members of the Watervliet Police Department were on foot patrol in the area of 21st street and Broadway when they came upon a motor vehicle crash that had just occurred. While officers were walking towards the accident to investigate, the operator of one of the vehicle’s involved fled the scene. While in the act of fleeing the scene, the operator struck a 52 year-old pedestrian who had stopped to assist with the accident. The two officers on foot patrol observed the incident unfold and attempted to stop the operator with verbal commands. The operator ignored the officers – shrugging his shoulders at them – and continued to drive recklessly almost striking a Watervliet Police Sergeant. The vehicle fled the area. Attempts from several local police agencies to locate the vehicle were unsuccessful. The good-Samaritan that had been struck did suffer a physical injury to their leg requiring emergency medical care at an area hospital. The driver of the other involved vehicle (that had been struck) was not injured.
Following an investigation by the Watervliet Police Department’s Criminal Investigations Unit, within 24-hours of the accident, the operator of the striking vehicle had been identified as Andrew D. Johnston, Age 37 a resident of Brunswick, New York. Johnston was placed under arrest on 3/6/2020 and processed at Watervliet Police Headquarters. Johnston did make oral statements to detectives that he fled the scene because he did not have a valid driver’s license (suspended). Johnston was charged with Aggravated Unlicensed Operator in the 2nd degree an unclassified misdemeanor, Leaving the Scene of a Personal Injury Auto Accident a class A misdemeanor, Reckless Driving an unclassified misdemeanor, Unlawful Fleeing of a Police Officer While Operating a Vehicle in the 3rd degree a class A misdemeanor, Assault in the 3rd degree a class A misdemeanor, Reckless Endangerment 1st degree a class D felony as well as four additional VTL traffic infractions. Johnston was released on an appearance ticket and is scheduled to appear in Watervliet City Court on Tuesday, March 10th, 2020 at 08:00am.
For questions regarding this release, please email PIO@watervliet.com.