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Local News

January 3, 2013

Woman accused of drunken driving in auto accident

A motorist was accused of drunken driving and vehicular assault after a bicyclist was hit on James F. Lettis Highway early Tuesday morning, Oneonta city police said.

Marissa L. Hetzel, 22, of Oneonta, was charged with second-degree vehicular assault and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, both felonies, and driving while intoxicated, police said.

The bicyclist suffered severe head and chest trauma, plus broken bones, including a femur, police said. The identity of the man, who was in his 30s or 40s, was being withheld pending notification of family in Mexico, police said, and a helmet wasn’t recovered at the scene.

Oneonta Fire Department ambulance crews took the bicyclist to A.O. Fox Memorial Hospital in the city, police said, and the victim was transferred to Bassett Medical Center in Cooperstown. He was to be admitted to intensive care after surgery Tuesday, Sgt. Ralph Pajerski said late Tuesday afternoon.

Police weren’t able to speak to the bicyclist Wednesday because he remained unconcious, Lt. Douglas Brenner said. Efforts continued to accurately identify the victim and contact his family, Brenner said.

The accident happened at about 1 a.m. Tuesday on the Lettis Highway when the bicyclist was riding north on his way home from work at the Neptune Diner on Southside Oneonta, Pajerski said. The accident was reported by a passing motorist who called 911 and described a bicycle in the roadway with a body next to it, police said.

During an investigation, police spoke with witnesses who helped them identify the car, which officers found on Third Street about 15 minutes after the accident, Pajerski said, and Hetzel was in a nearby residence.

Hetzel, a student at the State University College at Oneonta, also was charged with driving on the roadway shoulder, failure to use due care near a bicyclist and driving with an obstructed view, police said.

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