Former assemblyman Brian Kolb pleads guilty to driving while ability impaired after 2019 crash
VICTOR, N.Y. (WHEC) — Former New York assemblyman Brian Kolb Monday pleaded guilty to driving while ability impaired in connection to a late 2019 crash.
Kolb Monday made the plea in Victor Town Court, he also waived his right to appeal.
Deputies said Kolb crashed a state-owned SUV on News Year’s Eve back in 2019. The crash happened on County Road 41 near his home in Victor. Kolb was charged with DWI and making an unsafe turn.
A former top Republican in the New York State Assembly, Kolb admitted to having two drinks at the Erie Grill in Pittsford, according to court documents. A breath test showed his blood-alcohol level was 0.16% — twice the legal limit.
Four days after the crash, Kolb stepped down as the state’s Republican minority leader and announced he was not running for re-election.
Kolb pleaded not guilty to those charges. Yates County District Attorney Todd Casella, who was brought in as a special prosecutor for the case, told News10NBC he had no choice but to drop the driving while intoxicated charge because proper protocols with the breathalyzer test were not followed.
"At some point, you have to take a step back and realize there is not admissible evidence that I can put in through reliable sources to further a prosecution in this and that is not fair to any person who is charged with a crime," Kolb said.
Among the errors: Kolb was not closely observed for 20 minutes prior to the test, and at one point, he was actually left alone. His mouth was not checked before the test was given and deputies used electronic devices in the room, including a cellphone and a laptop computer, which could have interfered with the test results.
Casella expressed his frustration with the mistakes that were made during the arrest.
"I am very disappointed and very frustrated," Casella said. "I expect law enforcement and the agencies that we work with to be thorough and diligent in their efforts and I’m disappointed in the way that this had to be resolved, yes."
Kolb did not address the court during sentencing, but the judge brought up the fact that just a few days before the New Year’s Eve incident, Kolb sent a message to his constituents about the dangers of drinking and driving. The judge said, "unfortunately you didn’t follow your own advice".
"I expect law enforcement and the agencies that we work with to be thorough and diligent with their efforts, and I’m disappointed in the way that this had to be resolved," Casella said.
Kolb’s defense attorney, Chris Schiano said hopefully those mistakes aren’t made again.
"Brian always wanted to take some sort of responsibility for what occurred from the get-go, from the very first time I talked to him," Schiano said. "The new discovery laws came out, and once we started going through all the discovery, I was contacting Mr. Casella and saying ‘There’s something wrong here.’"
Because of the plea, Kolb’s license will be suspended for 90 days, and he will have to pay multiple fines and complete an impaired driver program.