Deputy, dirt-bike fatal expected to go to grand jury


By David Avitabile

A Schoharie County grand jury is expected to investigate the case involving the death of a man who fell off a dirt-bike and collided with a Sheriff's Office patrol car on June 3.
Schoharie County District Attorney James Sacket said Monday morning that a grand jury would be best to investigate the case involving the death of Joshua C. Camp, 31, in the Village of Middleburgh at about 7pm on June 3.
A grand jury could come back with a no charges or charges against the deputy who was driving the patrol car. The grand jury could also just issue a report.
One issue the grand jury may investigate could be how Mr. Camp and the patrol car collided.
The Sheriff's Office reported Mr. Camp was ejected from the dirt bike, and "the car and deceased came into contact."
The State Police report differs in that Mr. Camp was "subsequently struck by the Deputy's marked patrol vehicle."
Grand jury members are presented with the information about the case and can ask questions and hear testimony, Mr. Sacket explained.
"I prefer to do it through the grand jury process," he said. "The grand jury process serves us very well. That's the most thorough type of investigation."
He noted that grand juries were established during his tenure after the shooting deaths of citizens on Short Road in Sharon and in the Town of Broome.
The investigation will be a complete one, he assured.
"It's not going to be a 'drive-thru' grand jury," Mr. Sacket said.
"These things take a while" as a "full, thorough investigation" is needed.
The Sheriff's Office and State Police, who are currently conducting the investigation, haven't released the name of the deputy involved in the death.
Under a new executive order, the incident could fall under the jurisdiction of the state attorney general's office since it involved an unarmed citizen and the police, Mr. Sacket said.
State Police Senior Investigator Drew McDonald said Monday morning that while some information could be released in the future, there are "multiple facets of the investigation" that still have to be completed.
A toxicology test and an accident reconstruction investigation still have to be completed, according to Investigator McDonald.
He has asked those conducting the investigations to "expedite them as quickly as possible."
The deputy involved in the accident has not returned to duty since the incident, according to Sheriff Tony Desmond.
"He's still an active deputy. He's taking some time off."
The Sheriff declined to release the name of the deputy, though rumors and comments about the accident have been rampant on Facebook.
"We'll release information, but not right now."
More will be released when the State Police investigation is complete.
"It's going to be a thorough report," Sheriff Desmond promised.
Sheriff Desmond has said that the deputy has 15 years experience in three Sheriff's departments, including Schoharie County.
He has worked in the Schoharie County Sheriff's Office, either part or full-time, for four years.
Mr. Camp, 31, was treated at the scene of the collision off of Greibel Lane in the village, according to the Cobleskill State Police. He was then taken by Med Flight helicopter to Albany Medical Center where he died from his injuries.
Police gave the following details of the incident: At about 7pm on Friday, a Schoharie County Sheriff's deputy initiated a traffic stop of an unregistered dirt-bike in the village.
The operator of the dirt-bike allegedly failed to comply, and the deputy began a pursuit.
The brief pursuit ended on a lawn behind a home on Griebel Lane when Mr. Camp lost control of the dirt-bike and was ejected.
It is not known whether Mr. Camp was riding while his ability was impaired.
After the accident, the Sheriff's Office requested the assistance of the State Police with the investigation.