Driver in Cole Hill crash to be released from hospital and arraigned for charges

— Photo from Albany County Sheriff’s Office

Battered and broken, the small pickup truck was left torn apart and wedged between trees after it crashed on Cole Hill Road in Berne. The box was ripped off the cab, said Albany County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy William Rice. The driver, whom police say was intoxicated at the time, is facing multiple charges, after he and one passenger sustained minor injuries and another passenger was left in critical condition.

BERNE — After a Saturday morning crash ripped apart a pickup truck on Cole Hill Road in Berne, the driver of the vehicle, Aaron Boomhower, of Berne, is scheduled to be released from the hospital today after sustaining minor injuries, said Albany County Sheriff’s Inspector Charles Higgins.

He will be arraigned in Berne Town Court following his release, and is facing numerous charges, including a felony for causing injury to the passengers, one who is in critical condition.

Speed and alcohol are so far thought to be the causes of the crash, said Higgins.

Police say events unfolded this way: Boomhower drove a 1998 Ford Ranger pickup truck south on Cole Hill Road, from Berne towards Westerlo. At 9:45 a.m., as the truck passed the intersection at Woodstock Road, Boomhower lost control of the vehicle and moved into the oncoming lane, said Higgins. Boomhower had been driving the truck up an incline as it approached the intersection, said Higgins, before it went downhill after it passed the intersection. He overcorrected and drove off the road’s shoulder, grazing a tree. The truck then traveled 230 feet into a nearby cow pasture, rolling at least once during that time, before it crashed into a tree. Neighbors of the property called 9-1-1, said Higgins.

The two passengers riding with Boomhower, a 25-year-old woman from Knox and a 30-year-old man from Berne, were flung from the vehicle. The sheriff’s office believes they were not wearing seatbelts, while Boomhower was.

Boomhower has been charged with aggravated vehicular assault, a felony; driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, and operating with a suspended registration, all misdemeanors; and failure to keep right, an infraction.

Boomhower’s registration had been suspended due to an insurance lapse, said Albany County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy William Rice, but the vehicle was insured. The vehicular assault charge is due to the injuries sustained by the passenger, said Higgins.

A preliminary investigation at the scene of the accident and at the hospital has so far revealed Boomhower was under the influence of alcohol, said Higgins. The sheriff’s office is also awaiting warrants to be signed in order to search the truck’s remains and test any blood samples provided by the hospital, said Rice, in order to recover items from the vehicle and determine if other substances were involved.

The vehicle was severely damaged, with debris traveling as far as 200 to 300 feet, said Higgins. The box of the truck was ripped from the cab, said Rice.

“It would be categorized as a compact pickup truck,” said Higgins.

Weather was not a factor, police say, but fog prevented a helicopter from arriving to airlift the victims. An ambulance instead drove them to Albany Medical Center, where Boomhower and the male passenger stayed overnight to recover from minor injuries, and the female passenger remains in critical condition.


More Hilltowns News

The Altamont Enterprise is focused on hyper-local, high-quality journalism. We produce free election guides, curate readers' opinion pieces, and engage with important local issues. Subscriptions open full access to our work and make it possible.