Former Massena police officer accepts plea deal after lying about Potsdam car accident
BY JEFF CHUDZINSKI
North Country This Week
This story was updated at 9:59 a.m. on Jan. 26 with comments from District Attorney Gary Pasqua and Norfolk Town Supervisor Charlie Pernice.
MASSENA — A former Massena police officer has accepted a plea deal after being charged with lying to Potsdam police about a New Year’s morning hit-and-run accident in the village of Potsdam.Joshua Underwood, 23, pleaded guilty to unsafe backing as a result of the incident. Underwood will pay $200 in fines and surcharges.
St. Lawrence County District Attorney Gary Pasqua said he believed the deal was fair. He said Underwood had no previous record and was facing a traffic infraction and B misdemeanor. He also noted that the officer lost not only his job, but also any future career in law enforcement having had his credentials revoked by the Department of Justice.
Pasqua said that sometimes special prosecutors are used when incidents involve police officers due to potential conflicts, but said he was comfortable prosecutiing this because he did not know Underwood personally.
Underwood was initially charged with leaving the scene of a property damage accident, unsafe backing and conspiracy sixth-degree, according to previous reports.
According to Potsdam police previously, Underwood was involved in a property damage accident on Pierrepont Ave. before fleeing the scene.
Upon investigation, police determined Underwood and Logan Chilton, 22, lied to police about their involvement in the incident.
Chilton was a part-time Norwood Village and Norfolk Town police officer and was fired from both departments as a result of his actions, officials say.
Norfolk Town Supervisor Charlie Pernice confirmed Chilton is no longer employed by the Norfolk police department and was fired on Jan. 12.
Also in the vehicle was Katy Underwood, 22. Police say Chilton and Joshua Underwood told officers that Ms. Underwood was the driver at the time of the incident. As a result, police say the three intentionally sought to deceive law enforcement when questioned about the incident.
As a result, Chilton and Katy Underwood were both charged with making a false written statement and conspiracy sixth-degree.
Chilton and Katy Underwood are both due in Potsdam Town Court in March.