Family speaks out after man accused in Schenectady hit and run arrested

SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – Schenectady Police arrested a man in connection with a crash that seriously injured 55-year-old James Thackrah.

James, known as Jet, was hit by a truck in the area of Erie Boulevard and Union Street in Schenectady on January 12.

It turned his family’s world upside down, including his daughter, Brittany Thackrah.

“It throws you in a whirlwind. You just don’t know which direction, if you’re going up or down,” Brittany said.

She had just spoken to him 10 minutes earlier.

“Both our birthdays are in the same week and we had made a date for lunch for the next day.”

But after this, they did anything but celebrate.

“We were praying that he was going to make it because we really didn’t know,” Brittany said.

He spent weeks at Albany Medical Center with broken ribs, a fractured skull, and traumatic brain injuries, while the driver who hit him remained at large.

Nearly a month later, Schenectady Police arrested and charged 64-year-old Clifford Oathout with leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in injury.

Brittany says police told her Oathout actually helped block traffic for about 20 minutes after the crash and left without admitting to causing the accident. They also told her he confessed to a former officer at a bar which led to his arrest.

“It brings us closure and I’m happy to have a little bit of closure now,” Brittany said.

As she starts to get justice, she’s watching her dad get better every day. This week Jet was transferred to Sunnyview Rehabilitation Hospital. He’s not walking and communication is limited, but his personality is coming back.

“He smiled at me and reached to hug me and it was the best hug I ever had.”

Some hope for a family that’s just thankful their loved one is still here.

“We were praying for a miracle and we got one, so it’s gonna be a long road but at least it’s a road that we get to walk down,” Brittany said.

The family is from Amsterdam, but Jet has been living in Schenectady pursuing a degree in casino management at Schenectady County Community College.

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