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Police: Assault in Wilmington leads to drunken crash in Saranac Lake

May 19, 2012
By CHRIS MORRIS - Staff Writer ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

A Lake Placid man was in Essex County Jail Friday after an incident of stalking in Lake Placid escalated to an assault in Wilmington and ended with him wrecking his truck just outside Saranac Lake.

Ray Brook-based state police arrested Kevin A. Benware, 39, at 10:33 a.m. Thursday after he rolled his truck on state Route 86 in the town of Harrietstown, about 3 miles north of Adirondack Medical Center in Saranac Lake.

Trooper Bruce Coffin told the Enterprise that Benware had a blood-alcohol content of 0.15 percent at the time of his arrest. He was charged with driving while intoxicated and operating a motor vehicle with a blood-alcohol content greater than 0.08 percent, both misdemeanors. He was also ticketed for failure to keep right and moving unsafely from a lane.

Benware declined medical attention at the scene, police said.

But Benware's trouble reportedly started long before the Thursday morning wreck.

Coffin said that on Wednesday night, Benware went to see his girlfriend at the Summit Hotel in Lake Placid. The meeting led to an argument between Benware and a guest at the hotel. After he left, he began calling his girlfriend repeatedly on her work phone and cell phone - a total of 170 times over the course of several hours, according to police.

Coffin said the woman left work and went to her home in Wilmington, where Benware was waiting for her.

"He had wrecked a bunch of stuff on the front porch, and then he pushed her down the steps of the porch," Coffin said. "Prior to that, he had made threats on the phone about hurting her and people she cares about."

Coffin said Benware hit his girlfriend in the face "a couple of times." He allegedly screamed at her, pulled her hair and tried to force prescription medications into her mouth.

The woman was able to escape him briefly and run into the house, where she grabbed her pepper spray. She then ran to her car and left, Coffin said.

"He followed in his truck, and she turned around to go back and get her dogs," he said. "He met her there again, and there was another episode of him chasing her around the yard. She sprayed him with pepper spray, and they both were affected by it."

Coffin said after she pepper-sprayed Benware, he kneed her in the face and then went into the house. That's when she reportedly got her dogs into the car and left again, driving toward Whiteface Mountain Ski Center.

Coffin said she parked on the side of the road and fell asleep. When she awoke, Benware was blocking her in, Coffin said. A passing motorist broke up the situation, and Benware left for Wilmington again.

"She drove to Lake Placid, slept somewhere in her car, and then went to find a friend that works in Lake Placid," Coffin said. "They were heading back to Wilmington in separate cars to go to the state police barracks, and Benware forced them to stop after passing them both. He started another altercation, verbally, between them in the road, and the other woman drove on and honked her horn and broke it up. He left again, and they came to Ray Brook and reported it."

The woman filed her report with state police at 8:30 a.m. Thursday. At 10:02 a.m., state police received the report about Benware's crash on Route 86.

A subsequent investigation into the incident resulted in more charges for Benware. At 1:10 p.m. Thursday, he was charged with assault, a class D felony, as well as third-degree assault with intent to cause physical injury, second-degree reckless endangerment, third-degree stalking with threat of injury, criminal mischief with intent to damage property and second-degree aggravated harassment, all class A misdemeanors.

Benware was arraigned and remanded to the jail in lieu of $10,000 cash bail or $20,000 bond. He was still behind bars as of Friday night.



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