Schneider receives lengthy prison sentence after fatal Owasco crash

Cayuga County District Attorney Jon Budelmann announced that Dain R. Schneider was sentenced this morning in Cayuga County Court to 7-24 years in prison for aggravated vehicular homicide in connection with the Fatal DWI Crash in the Town of Owasco on July 27th that killed 18-year-old Chloe Calhoun of Auburn.

The District Attorney’s Office made the announcement in a press release late-Tuesday afternoon. The sentencing was outlined as follows:

“On August 23, 2016 Schneider pled guilty to Aggravated Vehicular Homicide, Aggravated DWI, Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the First Degree and Reckless Driving August 23, 2016. Today Schneider was sentenced as follows: Aggravated driving while intoxicated to 1⅓ to 4 years; first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation to 1⅓ to 4 years; reckless driving to one year. All sentences to run concurrently. The aggravated vehicular homicide and aggravated driving while intoxicated charges also carry mandatory post-incarceration supervision requirements and so he was sentenced to a post-incarceration probation term of five years, with a five year ignition interlock device order as one of the terms of that post-incarceration probation sentence.”

D.A. Budelmann pointed out in the release that due to DMV rules and regulations, this guilty plea will likely result in Schneider’s lifetime loss of driving privileges in New York.

Chloe Calhoun’s Aunt, Beth O’Hara, read a heart-wrenching statement written by Chloe’s mother Rhori Calhoun about how Chloe’s death has affected their family. It detailed the anguish from the first call about the crash to the present. Assistant District Attorney Diane Adsit described the results of the crash investigation, as well as the defendant’s long history of driving drunk and the breaks he received avoid incarceration until now. ADA Adsit reviewed the defendant’s choice to continue drinking and driving, his other crimes, and how they had led to this tragedy.

D.A. Budelmann noted that Schneider’s first DWI was in 2000 at 17-years-old. He was given a chance to plead guilty to reckless driving. In 2002, he was arrested for DWI a second time while under 19-years-old and received probation. He was arrested for criminal mischief shortly after the DWI arrest. Two weeks after being put on probation, he was arrested for burglary in Onondaga County and was allowed to plead guilty to petit larceny with community service. After only 18 months of probation the Probation Department gave him an early discharge in 2004.

His third DWI offense took place in 2007, which was reduced to DWAI – which was another opportunity given to Schneider. His fourth DWI arrest was in Marcellus. That arrest took place in 2011, which resulted in a conditional discharge – even as that charge was pled down from aggravated driving while intoxicated with a blood-alcohol content of .18%.

Schneider’s license was revoked in 2011. It remained that way until the accident this summer, which took the life of Calhoun.

Witnesses said they could hear the truck’s roaring engine speeding down the road before they could see it. The collision reconstruction determined that defendant should have been able to see Chloe’s vehicle traveling on Route 38A from more than half a mile away. Investigators say that there was enough time for Schneider to slow and come to a stop, even as he was traveling at 99 mph.

The impact demolished and crushed the Escape, pushing the tailgate through the rear storage compartment and the back seat right up into the front seat part of the passenger compartment, leaving the vehicle unrecognizable as a hatchback. The Police Reconstruction determined that Calhoun’s vehicle was going around 18 miles per hour when she was struck directly in the rear of her vehicle. The impact accelerated her vehicle up to more than 61 miles per hour and shoved it more than 200 feet before the damage caused both vehicles to veer to the right. Calhoun’s Escape struck a speed limit sign so hard that it left a rectangular dent in the hood of her vehicle. She ricocheted off the sign and spun around into the ditch and then careened back out onto the road, stopping about 300 feet north of where defendant first slammed into the vehicle.

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