HUDSON — A Columbia County man was charged with marijuana possession and driving while ability impaired after he struck the Hudson Police Department’s Drug Abuse Resistance Education, or D.A.R.E., vehicle used to teach children about the dangers of using drugs, police said.
The crash occurred at the intersection of North Sixth and Columbia streets just after 3 p.m. Wednesday, according to a statement released by the Hudson Police Department.
Montel D. Patel, 18, of Hudson, was charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation, and driving while ability impaired by drugs, an unclassified misdemeanor. He was ticketed for vehicle and traffic violations. Patel was sent to Columbia County Jail on $1,000 bail after his arraignment.
Patel, who police said was driving a 2016 black Honda Accord, struck the D.A.R.E. vehicle driven by Hudson police Officer Jacob Hoffman after Patel failed to stop at a traffic light at the intersection.
The D.A.R.E. vehicle was hit in the driver’s-side door.
Hoffman, who serves as school resource officer in the Hudson City School District, was driving the department’s 2000 BMW, which was confiscated in a drug seizure in 2014 and converted into the D.A.R.E. vehicle in 2016.
The vehicle was totaled in the crash, police said. There are no plans to replace the D.A.R.E. vehicle at this time, Hudson Police Chief L. Edward Moore said Thursday.
The cause of the crash remains under investigation, police said.
Hoffman was taken to Columbia Memorial Health for evaluation, police said. Hoffman was able to call fellow officers for assistance immediately after the crash, and was back to work on Thursday, police said.
“It appears the injuries are minor, and it certainly could have been worse,” Moore said in a statement Wednesday.
Patel complained of pain, but declined medical treatment at the scene. His passenger, a 16-year-old from Hudson, was uninjured but taken to Columbia Memorial Health as a precaution. Police have not released the name of the passenger.
State police are assisting city police with the investigation. State police dispatched a drug recognition expert to determine if Patel was impaired, city police said. The drug recognition expert considers field sobriety, blood tests and other factors to determine sobriety or impairment.
The D.A.R.E. car, which has the words “Compliments of a Local Drug Dealer” inscribed on its bumper, was confiscated May 14, 2004, after two men were charged with possessing 123 packets of heroin and $2,600, police said. The heroin was part of a drug deal witnessed by off-duty city police officer Chris Duntz in the parking lot of the former Warren Inn at 731 Warren St. The car was confiscated because it was the scene of the drug deal, police said.
One of the defendants in that case, Vaughntele Ryan, now 24, was sentenced in 2015, to one-and-a-half years in state prison and two years of post-release supervision following his conviction on charges of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class B felony, and fourth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a C felony. Hakim Myrick, now 28, of Catskill, was sentenced the same year to one-and-a-half years in state prison after his conviction by plea of fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class D felony.
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