Friends of accused speak out after hit-and-run crashes in Canandaigua

Updated: 08/29/2014 5:33 PM
Created: 08/29/2014 4:28 PM WHEC.com

Some people are showing support for the man accused in a series of hit-and-run crashes in Canandaigua earlier this week.

William Lantier faces several charges, including DWI, in a series of events that happened Wednesday morning. Police say he hit a car at Route 332 and Thomas Road then continued into Canandaigua, hitting several more cars before a good samaritan was able to stop him.

Lantier was in Canandaigua City Court on Friday morning with his lawyer.

“There’s a picture being painted that Bill is a drunken villain, and he’s not,” said Ronald Johnson, Lantier’s long-time friend of 40 years.

Johnson worked with Lantier at a mobile phone company.

“He’s a loving, caring person. He would never harm anybody in this manner,” he said.

That is very different from what police say happened on Wednesday. Police say Lantier was driving drunk in his SUV and crashing into nine other cars until he was stopped by a good Samaritan.

In court, his lawyer told the judge Lantier suffers from diabetes.

Brean: “Do you think the diabetes played a role in what happened?

Jennifer Kehoe, Public Defender’s Office: “It might have. It’s definitely something we need to look into.”

The diabetes excuse is the same one used by Rochester Deputy Mayor Leonard Redon after his DWI arrest, although, that had more to do with his blood alcohol results than his behavior.

Lantier’s friends believe his illness caused this chaos.

“I knew immediately that something was wrong. We know that he’s a diabetic, and we believe that he had some type of diabetic episode,” said Jesse Jayne, another friend of Lantier’s.

“He’s a good man. He is a good Catholic. He goes to church every Sunday,” said Johnson. “Don’t judge him by this circumstance, please. Something was terribly wrong.”

Lantier has at least three prior convictions: a weapons charge from the 1990’s which was over a Civil War era rifle with gun powder in it, an assault conviction from the 1990’s which was an incident between he and his daughter and a DWAI charge from eight years ago.

Lantier will be back in court next week.

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