Charges against Banks to be dropped

T he Warren County District Attorney’s office will seek the dismissal of a driving while intoxicated charge against Dresden Supervisor Robert Banks after a second blood alcohol test showed that he had no alcohol or drugs in his system when he crashed a car into a home late last year.

Banks was charged with misdemeanor DWI on Dec. 26, three days after he struck a house at the corner of North Williams and Saunders streets.

He was charged with DWI based on the results of an Alco Sensor breath test which showed his blood alcohol content to be .10, and observations made at the scene by law enforcement professionals.

The results of an Alco Sensor breath test are not admissible in court and Banks was not given a Breathalyzer, which is admissible, because he was taken to Glens Falls Hospital following the accident.

A blood sample taken at the hospital following the crash was tested for alcohol and the results, which were released last month, showed he had a blood alcohol content of zero.

However, the Warren County District Attorney’s office asked for a second test because they believed the initial results did not support the evidence at the scene.

The Warren County District Attorney’s office is serving as the special prosecutor in the case because Washington County District Attorney Kevin Kortright and Banks have worked together in the past, creating a possible conflict of interest.

The results of the second test confirmed the first test and the district attorney’s office was expected to send a letter to the Whitehall Village Court advising it of the results and asking for dismissal of the DWI charge.

They had asked the charge be dismissed last month after they received the results of the first test, but reversed course and asked village Justice Julie Eagan to reserve judgment until they could have a second test performed.

Although the DWI charge is expected to be dropped, Banks still faces misdemeanor criminal possession of a weapon in connection with a stun gun that would discovered in his vehicle. It is illegal in New York for anyone other than law enforcement personnel to possess a stun gun.

He was also ticketed for failure to keep right.

Banks has said he was on his way home from the Elks Lodge when his foot got stuck on the gas pedal, causing him to lose control of the vehicle, hop the curb, and strike a porch at the front of the home. The home was unoccupied at the time and suffered little damage.

Banks, the longest-tenured supervisor in the history of Dresden, has missed the last few Washington County Board of Supervisor’s meetings, including the vote to sell the Pleasant Valley Infirmary. He was excused from some meetings because of an illness that forced him to be hospitalized.

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