A Pittsford man is being held without bail after police said he hit his girlfriend with his truck outside of her Proctor home on Saturday and drove off.
Anthony J. Reynolds, 48, told police he wasn’t aware he had hit Melanie Rooney, 31.
Reynolds told police he and Rooney had gone to her home. He said he “drove quickly out of Rooney’s driveway and believed Rooney was still in the passenger seat of her van.”
“He drove north on Market Street toward Franklin’s restaurant. He then quickly realized he forgot his cell phone and turned around and back to Rooney’s to retrieve it. When he came back, he noticed what appeared to be a black duffle bag in the roadway,” the police affidavit said.
“When he got closer, Reynolds identified the duffle bag as being Rooney. He believed she was being dramatic and exited his vehicle to make contact with her. After he exited the vehicle, he then yelled at her and told her to get up. When he walked over to her, it was then he noticed her injuries. Rooney did not appear to be breathing so Reynolds checked her pulse via her left wrist. Upon feeling no pulse and not observing her breathing, Reynolds advised he panicked and left the area,” the affidavit continued.
Reynolds pleaded not guilty on Monday to five felony charges — one count each of manslaughter, first-degree aggravated domestic assault, second-degree aggravated domestic assault, grossly negligent driving resulting in death and leaving the scene of a crash that resulted in a death.
Reynolds also pleaded not guilty to a misdemeanor count of driving after his license had been suspended for a conviction of driving under the influence of alcohol.
Both the manslaughter charge and the charge of leaving the scene of a fatal crash carry mandatory minimums of one year in jail.
If convicted of all the charges, Reynolds could be sentenced to up 67 years in prison.
In an affidavit, Vermont State Police Detective Sgt. Tyson Kinney said police were notified around 5 a.m. on Saturday about an unresponsive woman in the road at 13 Market St. in Proctor.
Kinney said the woman, later identified as Rooney, appeared to have numerous injuries consistent with having been run over.
Rooney was declared dead at the scene at around 5:04 a.m.
Police spoke with Reynolds a short time later. Kinney said Reynolds “provided inconsistent statements of his actions with Rooney during the previous evening.”
Reynolds told police he began dating Rooney on Jan. 17, after she picked him up when he was hitchhiking.
The affidavit said Reynolds told police he and Rooney went out to a restaurant on Center Street in Rutland on Friday. He said they both drank enough to be over the legal limit for driving. The legal limit in Vermont is 0.08%.
Reynolds said they then went to a second bar on Wales Street, where they had an argument, the affidavit said. Reynolds said he left the bar and began walking back to Pittsford but Rooney picked him up on the way and brought him back to her home, where he got his truck and left, he told police.
Telling police he feared that telling them what happened would lead to charges against him for driving under the influence of alcohol, Reynolds invoked his right not to answer more questions, Kinney said.
During a search of the home where Reynolds was staying, police located a pair of jeans that had blood smears on the leg, and found what was tested as a “presumptive positive for blood” on the bumper of Reynolds’ truck.
One man told police he got a call from Rooney just after midnight on Saturday. He said Rooney told him she was afraid for her life because Reynolds was “flipping out” at the bar. A friend of Rooney’s said she had sent a text on Saturday at almost 1 a.m. in which Rooney said “my bf just beat me up.”
Kinney said Reynolds contacted police Saturday evening to say “he had not told the truth during the first interview and wanted to ‘come clean’ about what occurred.”
In addition to allegedly telling police how he found Rooney’s body in the driveway, Reynolds said he found blood on the steering wheel of his truck, which he wiped off with a household wipe. Police found that wipe, according to the affidavit.
Attorney Dan Stevens, who represented Reynolds, asked Judge Theresa DiMauro to release Reynolds under strict conditions.
Rutland County State’s Attorney Rose Kennedy argued that Reynolds had a history of violating court orders and failing to appear for court hearings.
DiMauro agreed to hold Reynolds until a hearing can be scheduled to determine whether he’ll be given the chance to be released pending the outcome of the charges.