Charges explained for man accused of causing death of state trooper

Gary R. Blakley

AMSTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) – The New York State Motor Truck Association has spoken out about the charges filed against an Ontario, Canada man in the death of a New York State trooper.

Gary Blakley, 66, was arrested and charged February 3, 2015 for causing the accident that resulted in the death of Trooper David Cunniff in December 2013. Authorities said Blakley drove his tractor trailer into the back of Cunniff’s cruiser while he was in the process of conducting a traffic stop.

NYS Trooper David Cunniff
NYS Trooper David Cunniff

Another driver was injured.

The New York State Police would not specifically comment on the crash, but they did explain what they look for when a truck is involved.

“We’re going to examine the driver’s credentials, his licensing, his medical certification,” Allendorf said. “The status of his license, and then we’re also going to examine the record of duty status also known as the log book.”

According to the indictment, Blakley was driving recklessly that allegedly caused Cunniff’s death. It also states, Blakley had been driving for more than 14 hours which is the federally regulated limit for truck drivers.

Officials confirm he was over by 15 minutes and that his log books were out of date. Those errors partly led to the charges.

“Whether it’s 15 minutes or 30 minutes, I think that the fact remains the driver was outside the hours of service requirement,” Kendra Hems, President of the NYS Motor Truck Assoc., said. “And the hours of service are there for a reason. As an industry, we support those hours of service because they are meant to reduce fatigue.”

The New York State Motor Truck Association is a group that represents more than 600 truck drivers.

“The hours of service requirements are based on science, and there were studies done to determine what made the most sense in terms of keeping both the truck drivers and other drivers on the road safe,” Hems said.

Blakley faces seven charges, including Aaggravated Criminally Negligent Homicide, Criminally Negligent Homicide and Second Degree Aggravated Manslaughter.

If convicted he could face up to 20 years behind bars.

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