Correction: A previous headline on this article misstated who testified at the trial on Thursday. A video authorities made of their questioning of Alexander West, the defendant in this case, was played at his trial on Thursday. West did not testify
QUEENSBURY — Robert Knarr was a grandfather seven weeks removed from heart surgery enjoying a quiet night on Lake George behind the wheel of his 1928 wooden boat.
Alexander West was a young boater cruising in his motorboat after a day with friends at Log Bay Day, an annual party on the lake.
On July 25 their boats — and lives — collided near Cramer Point in a crash that killed
Knarr’s 8-year-old granddaughter, Charlotte McCue.
On Thursday, jurors in West’s manslaughter trial in Warren County heard from both West and Knarr — both of whom told police they only had two drinks that night and were sober.
“Everybody else was drinking. I was not drinking,” West, 25, told police on a video of his July 26 police interrogation played for the jury by county prosecutors.
“I really was 100 percent sober … there was no alcohol in my system,” West said. He said he drank two Corona beers and had no drugs in his system.
He said he was not feeling well, which is why he limited his alcohol consumption.
“I was definitely not intoxicated,” West told police.
West said the crash came “out of nowhere.” He said he asked people on the other boat if they were all right but the boat just sailed to shore and did not respond.
The crash, near Cramer Point, was at 9:22 p.m. Police interviewed West on July 26 just after 9:06 a.m.
Prosecutors played the video of West’s interrogation during the testimony of Investigator John Maday, one of at least two department investigators who interviewed West.
“So how much did you have to drink?” Investigator Terri Jeffords asked West.
“Just those two Coronas,” West replied. He said he drank nothing at dinner. Prosecutors allege West drank two Moscow Mules, a vodka-laced drink, at dinner in Bolton Landing before the crash.
West repeatedly told investigators he and his four passengers panicked and were scared after the crash, but they did not know anyone was seriously hurt in the other boat.
Maday asked West how he saw people on the other boat had made it shore and yet he didn’t go over to them. West said he panicked and feared sinking and upsetting his father about damage to the boat.
“Did you happen to learn what happened?” Jeffords asked West, referring to the death of the child and severe injury to her mother, Courtney McCue, who was in court Thursday.
“My mom told me,” West replied, his head down. “I just wish I saw them.”
West’s remarks on the videotape were contradicted by blood evidence which showed cocaine, ecstasy and marijuana in his system after the crash. District Attorney Kate Hogan andFirst Assistant Jason Carusone cannot show that evidence to jurors because investigators drew the blood before obtaining a warrant. At least three witnesses have said West snorted cocaine on his boat during Log Bay Day earlier that day.
Knarr, 68, a business executive in the medical device industry, broke down on the witness stand and cried uncontrollably as he described the crash, which happened as he approached his home on the lake. Until that point Knarr said he was feeling like a new man after heart-valve-replacement surgery in early June. His wife, daughter, her husband and their three children were on board.
Knarr said police later asked him if he consumed alcohol before the crash. Knarr said he was “pissed” they kept asking him about the pre-screening test for alcohol. He said he wanted police to “find the freaking people who hit my boat and killed my granddaughter.”
“I said, ‘Find them!'” he testified.
At one point, County Judge John Hall asked Knarr if he wanted to take a break.
“Let me get through this!,” he replied. “I don’t want to have to come back here. Please!”
While being questioned by West attorney Cheryl Coleman , Knarr asked, “Do you have any idea what I was going through?”
Coleman replied, “I’m one of the only people in this courtroom who does.”
Coleman’s 6-year-old daughter, Caitlin, died in 1997. The child’s heart stopped while Coleman was prosecuting a murder case for Albany County prosecutors.
The trial continues Friday. Maday’s testimony is expected to wrap up.