Hampton man faces DWI charge on snowmobile after crash

A Hampton man is facing charges, including driving while intoxicated, following a snowmobile crash Sunday night on the Rail Trail adjacent the Station House Bed and Breakfast on Main Street.

Police charged Joseph P. Baker, 21, with misdemeanor driving a snowmobile while intoxicated and violations, including leaving the scene of a property damage accident, driving without insurance, imprudent speed, reckless operation and operating an unregistered snowmobile following a crash that damaged a section of fencing that runs parallel to the trail and separates the trail from the grounds of the B&B. 

Dispatchers summoned police to Main Street around 8:30 p.m. following a call reporting a snowmobile rider traveling north had struck the ornamental fence along the Rail Trail and was attempting to remove the vehicle from the fence.

At the scene, it appeared Baker hit a dip shoveled out for a sidewalk access to the B&B and losing control accelerated from that point into the fence.

When police arrived at the scene of the crash, however, they were unable to find Baker. Witnesses reported the rider ran north on the trail in the direction of North Street.

New York State Police and an off-duty police officer joined Granville police patrol officer Mark Morrill in the search for the rider when he called for backup.

The search lasted less than a half hour when Morrill found Baker walking along the Rail Trail in the dark and carrying a snowmobile helmet. Police said Baker admitted to being intoxicated when apprehended and told police he “just wanted to go home.”

Baker was taken into custody without incident, transported to the station, processed and released to a sober third party. Village Police Chief Ernie Bassett Jr. said Monday DWIs on snowmobile are rare in the village.

The barely damaged snowmobile, a red and black 2005 Ski-Doo, was removed from the fence and taken from the scene by Warner’s. Baker was ordered to appear in Granville Village Court at a later date.

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