Man in drunken crash pleads guilty

JOHNSTOWN – A Johnstown man who drove drunk pleaded guilty this week in Fulton County Court to 16 counts related to a July 5 crash in which his vehicle struck another car containing seven people, causing serious injuries.

Andrew R. Grismore, 28, of West State Street pleaded guilty Tuesday before Judge Richard C. Giardino. The case had been scheduled for an April 28 trial.

Sentencing was adjourned until 1:30 p.m. May 14, at which time Grismore is expected to receive six months in the county jail, five years of probation, fines and surcharges. In addition, his license will be revoked and he will be required to use an ignition-interlock device on his vehicles.

Assistant District Attorney Chad Brown represented the county Tuesday. Grismore was represented by Gloversville attorney Robert Abdella.

Under a plea arrangement, Grismore pleaded guilty to three felony counts of second-degree assault, three felony counts of second-degree vehicular assault, seven counts of second-degree reckless endangerment, one count of third-degree assault, one count of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated, and one misdemeanor count of reckless driving.

District Attorney Louise Sira said in a news release Grismore had been indicted by a county grand injury in connection with a July 5 crash involving his car and another car with seven people on Route 30 in Northampton.

The release said the crash resulted in four of the passengers being injured and requiring medical treatment.

After Grismore’s indictment in September, Sira said the “terrible” crash involved Grismore’s 2003 Jeep and a vehicle driven by Mary Stiglmeier.

“The family was returning from a local restaurant to their summer camp in Northampton,” Sira said. “At the time, they were hit head-on by the Grismore vehicle.”

She said Stiglmeier suffered various leg and neck injuries and was only recently able to stop relying on a wheelchair.

The indictment says the accident caused a “substantial risk” of injury to passengers, and it injured other people besides Mary Stiglmeier. They included: Catherine Stiglmeier, who had nerve damage to the face and a fracture to the left clavicle; and Andrew Carroll, who had a displaced sternum fracture, fractured ribs and a pulmonary contusion.

The release indicated the Stiglmeier and Carroll families are “pleased” with the plea and felt the eventual sentence is “fair and just.”

Sira said the six-month jail sentence was worked out among the legal parties. At the time of the crash, she said Grimes could have faced up to seven years in prison.

“That was a maximum he was facing,” the district attorney said. “Probably, the judge took into consideration a lack of a [criminal] record.”

Sira also said in explaining the plea that the Stiglmeier family indicated to Brown they didn’t want to put their three children through a trial. Also, Sira said there were some “evidenciary weaknesses” in the case.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at manich@leaderherald.com.