Local firefighters remember fallen state trooper

Created: 05/30/2014 9:01 PM WHEC.com
By: Berkeley Brean

News10NBC is learning more about a state trooper with ties to our community who was hit and killed in the line of duty. He was a member of the Shortsville Fire Department before becoming a trooper.

Christopher Skinner was killed Thursday. A truck driver hit him while Skinner was making a routine traffic stop. It happened on I-81 near the Pennsylvania line.

Police say the driver, Almond Upton, said he did it on purpose swerved his truck and hit Skinner, killing him instantly. Officers claim Upton went on to say more confusing comments like, “I was two miles away from the Connecticut border and all of a sudden I’m in Binghamton, New York, being beamed to New York.” Police dogs tracked Upton in a wooded area nearby where he was found naked. 

Drew Campbell and Chief Will Slack worked side-by-side with Trooper Skinner when he was a volunteer in Clifton Springs. News10NBC showed them the quotes from the accused driver, Almond Upton.

Chief Will Slack, Clifton Springs Fire Dept. said, "I don't think I’ve ever heard it put that way.”

Drew Campbell, Clifton Springs firefighter, said, “It’s incomprehensible what this guy did.”

State Police say Trooper Skinner was killed when Upton ran him down on I-81 just north of Binghamton. Police say Upton told them he did it intentionally. 

When they heard the news, the firefighters in Clifton Springs lowered their flag to half-staff and they remembered their friend. 

Chief Will Slack, Clifton Springs Fire Dept., said, “It's heartbreaking the way someone can be there one minute and not the next.”

Campbell said, “He was hard working. He never once said he couldn't help someone for anything.”

Campbell recalled their work through an ice storm in 2002. 

Campbell said, “He was by my side the whole time just digging people out of ice and taking down trees and things like this to help the community.”

The suspect, Almond Upton, is in a jail in Binghamton, charged with murder. Police say he does have in Florida. 

Governor Cuomo released a statement about Trooper Skinner, saying "Trooper Skinner selflessly dedicated 13 years of his life to the New York State police and his actions have impacted the lives of many."

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