The man accused of driving under the influence of drugs when he struck a 68-year-old Camden woman walking her dog last summer has pleaded guilty to negligent homicide.

The community continues to mourn the death of 68-year-old Kathleen MacArthur, who died alongside her dog on August 4. MacArthur had been walking on Hillsboro Road in Camden when a car driven by James Henry veered off the roadway and hit her.

James Henry, via Oneida County Sheriff's Office
James Henry, via Oneida County Sheriff's Office

After fatally striking the woman, Henry's car crashed into a ditch.

Police arrested Henry, also of Camden, and later determined he was driving while under the influence of narcotics.

Police charged him with felony counts of criminally negligent homicide as well as vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated by drugs, and a traffic violation of failing to stay in lane.

On Wednesday, Henry accepted a plea deal and faces up to four years behind bars.

Sentencing in May

Getty Images
Getty Images

Henry, who is now 31-years-old was originally heading for a jury trial set for April 8 for all charges. Before his court appearance on Wednesday, he was presented a plea offer from the Oneida County District Attorney's Office.

Henry requested additional time to review the offer on April 1 and, on Wednesday, it was revealed what was in it.

Appearing in Oneida County Court on Wednesday morning, Henry pleaded guilty to criminally negligent homicide before Judge Robert L. Bauer. The terms of the deal means he will serve between one to 4 years in state prison.

Judge Bauer will sentence Henry on May 29.

As Previously Reported

The incident happened on Hillsboro Road in the Town of Camden on August 4.

Courtesy Google Maps
Courtesy Google Maps

Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol had identified the victim as Kathleen MacArthur, a beloved 68-year-old resident of Camden. Her dog also perished in the accident. Her obituary says she taught as a teacher assistant at Camden School District, where she worked with special needs children.

According to Maciol, MacArthur was walking her small dog east of the Howd Road intersection on Hillsboro Road when a car driven by Henry veered off the road.

Police say as Henry's car fatally struck both MacArthur and her pet dog before his vehicle "came to rest in the ditch."

Both MacArthur and her dog were pronounced dead at the scene.

Courtesy Google Maps
Courtesy Google Maps

Following an investigation, Sheriff Maciol announced:

James R. Henry, age 30 of Camden was arrested by Sheriff’s Investigators after a grand jury indictment warrant was issued. Henry has been charged with felony counts of criminally negligent homicide and vehicular manslaughter, a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated by drugs and a traffic violation of failing to stay in lane.

His mugshot was also released by police.

Henry was arraigned at Oneida County Court and was held on bond at Oneida County Jail.

While tragic, a number of residents have commented about the apparent rise in pedestrian deaths in Central NY.

Pedestrian deaths reached a 41-year high in the U.S

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, there was an estimated 7,508 pedestrian fatalities - including cyclists - in 2022, which is the highest number since 1980.

Experts say a variety of factors are contributing to this alarming trend. While speeding and driving under the influence are among the leading causes, authorities also pointed to a lack of sidewalks on roadways, a lack of illumination on roads at night, and the increase in “light trucks," like pickups and SUVs on the road.

dangerous crossing
Photo Credit - PinkBadger/Thinkstock

As for New York, the state is not among the safest for pedestrians and cyclists.

Says the NY Department of Health:

Injuries to pedestrians are among the top 10 leading causes of injury-related hospital admissions and death for almost all age groups.

It's estimated roughly 300 pedestrians are killed by motor vehicles in New York State every year. An additional 15,000 pedestrians are annually injured and about 3,000 are taken to the hospital.

With fairer weather on the horizon, authorities are urging motorists to be aware of their surroundings and to not drive distracted. Additionally, those who run and walk on the road are urged to follow all road safety rules and to wear clothing that can be easily seen.

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