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Conviction in Deadly 2009 Crash Overturned


The conviction of a Brooklyn man in connection with a multi-vehicle crash on Route 17 in the Town of Union that claimed the lives of a mother and daughter has been thrown out.

32 year old Jemark Ballenger had been found guilty of criminally negligent homicide for allegedly grabbing the wheel of the vehicle in which he was a passenger, yanking it and sending the car into a sport utility vehicle they were pursuing at a high rate of speed.

About a half hour later, five vehicles were involved in the resulting pile-up at the crash scene.

A Jeep, that had stopped due to the crashes, was struck from behind by another vehicle and burst into flames.  Michelle and Constance Curtin, who were in the Jeep, were killed.

Ballenger had been convicted in 2011 and sentenced to two to four years in jail. He had also been convicted of bribery and sentenced to three to six years.  The sentences were being served concurrently.

The New York State Supreme Court Appellate division ruled on the criminally negligent homicide charge and unanimously decided that Ballenger’s action did not directly cause the women’s deaths.

The Broome County District Attorney is considering whether to appeal.

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