Jury deliberates in fatal Stephentown crash trial

STEPHENTOWN, N.Y. – Deliberations have begun in the trial of a 22-year-old accused of leaving the scene of a fatal crash where his friend, the victim, was not found until hours later.

Brendan Hoffman, 22, was charged in the alcohol-related crash that ended up killing his friend.

During closing arguments, the defense claims no one can be sure who was actually behind the wheel that night. The prosecution later told the jury that Hoffman wasn't worried about his friend, telling a passerby “get me out of here.” He also asked why the defendant would run if he wasn't the driver.

A witness saw the vehicle flip over in June, and called police. The witness stated they saw a white vehicle pulling up to the scene and the driver of the flipped car get out, climb into the other car, and drive away.

When deputies arrived at the scene, they found the car but no occupants. Upon further investigation they discovered the driver, 20-year-old Brandon Hoffman, had been taken to Berkshire Medical Center where he told his father hours after the crash that his best friend and passenger, 24-year-old Christopher Baker, had also been in the car. His father then called the sheriff's office.

Police say Baker had been ejected more than 100 feet from the wreckage, where his body was found.

Hoffman has been charged with Vehicular Homicide, Manslaughter, Driving While Intoxicated, Reckless Driving and Leaving the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident. 

He showed no emotion in court Tuesday, as first the prosecution and then the defense laid out their opening statements. Authorities say Hoffman lost control of the car and it flipped, Baker was ejected, and Hoffman managed to climb out.

The prosecution says another driver stopped to help, but that Hoffman never said someone else was in that vehicle.

Authorities say Hoffman left the scene before police even arrived. The defense, though, painted a different picture, telling the jury that Baker was behind the wheel, not Hoffman.

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