An East Prospect man who insisted state police find out who was driving his SUV on New Year's Day 2011 when it was involved in a hit-and-run crash has now admitted that he was the driver in question.
Chad Altland, 28, of West Maple Street in the borough, pleaded guilty Friday to insurance fraud, according to court records. In exchange for his plea, charges of making a false report to police and obstructing the administration of law were dropped.
He was sentenced to nine to 24 months in prison by Common Pleas Judge Gregory M. Snyder.
That sentence is to run consecutively with a two- to 10-year prison stint Altland is serving for involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child less than 16, according to senior deputy prosecutor Kelley Nelson. A York County jury found Altland guilty of child molestation in September 2012, records state.
The crash: Altland's 1995 Ford Explorer crashed into a parked vehicle in the first block of North Main Street in East Prospect about 5 a.m. Jan. 1, 2011. The driver fled the scene.
A short time later, troopers visited Altland — the registered owner of the SUV — at his home about a block away, police said.
"Altland was uncooperative and evasive," Trooper Justin Dembowski wrote in charging documents. "Altland denied driving the vehicle and insisted that his vehicle must have been stolen from his driveway. ... Altland insisted that the stolen vehicle be investigated to the fullest extent."
On Jan. 20, 2011, Altland reported the crash and alleged vehicle theft to his insurance company.
DNA match: As part of his investigation, Dembowski sent the airbag from Altland's SUV to a state crime lab, where technicians found saliva on it and extracted DNA, court documents state.
In December 2012, the crime lab determined DNA from the saliva sample matched Altland's DNA, according to documents.
"The probability of the DNA sample being from anyone else is 1 in 540 quintillion from the Caucasian population," Altland's affidavit states.
'Extra mile': Nelson praised the state police investigation that pointed to Altland.
"They went the extra mile and had the DNA done on the airbags ... to establish he was actually driving the vehicle, which I thought was pretty ingenious," she said.
In court Friday, Altland told the judge he lied about the car being stolen because he had just committed a hit-and-run, according to Nelson.
Public defender Adam Witkonis, who represented Altland, did not immediately return a phone message seeking comment.
The owner of the car damaged by Altland has to date not been reimbursed for his loss, according to Nelson.
Altland's insurance company won't pay on the claim because Altland committed insurance fraud, she said.
Because of that, Altland was ordered to pay more than $3,000 in restitution to the victim, Nelson said.
— Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at email@example.com.