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> District Attorney - PR - 05-05-11

March 20, 2015




Tompkins County District Attorney Gwen Wilkinson today announced the sentencing of James D. Crosby, 19, to 4 to 12 years in state prison for the deaths of Kathy Lattimore and Derek Nichols and physical injuries of Samantha and Eugene Aarnio. On December 31, 2013, Crosby, while recklessly driving his motor vehicle at a high rate of speed, crossed into the opposite lane of traffic and collided with the vehicle being driven by Samantha Aarnio. As a result of the crash, Kathy Lattimore, a passenger in Aarnio’s vehicle, and Derek Nichols, Crosby’s passenger, were killed.

On December 24, 2014, following a bench trial, Hon. John C. Rowley found Crosby guilty of two counts of Manslaughter in the Second Degree, one count of Assault Second Degree, one count of Assault Third Degree, and one count of Reckless Driving.

As proven at trial, witnesses observed Crosby’s vehicle traveling on a curvy, hilly stretch of Route 34/96 between Spencer and Ithaca just prior to the crash. Crosby, driving at an excessive rate of speed, passed multiple vehicles in a no passing zone designated by double yellow lines. Crosby then traveled into the oncoming lane of traffic hitting the vehicle being driven by Samantha Aarnio.

Hon. John C. Rowley sentenced Crosby to an indeterminate sentence of incarceration of 4 to 12 years in prison on both Manslaughter counts, a determinate sentence of 4 years on the Assault in the Second Degree count, a one-year sentence on the Assault in the Third Degree count, and a six-month sentence on the Reckless Driving count. All the sentences are to be served concurrently, as required by law.

The New York State Police handled the investigation. ADA Eliza Filipowski prosecuted the case, and Ithaca attorney Joseph Joch represented James Crosby.