Hunter jailed in accidental shooting of officer
A resident of this Columbia County town who was hunting in woods off Silvernails Road was charged with felony assault and jailed after accidentally shooting a state environmental conservation officer, state police said Wednesday.
Alan Blanchard, 55, of Gallatin, was charged with felony assault, arraigned in Livingston Town Court and sent to the Columbia County Jail without bail, police said.
Environmental Conservation Officer James Davey, 39, a 12-year veteran of the force, was shot with a rifle at about 5 p.m. Tuesday, according to state police at Livingston and the state Department of Environmental Conservation. He was taken to Mid-Hudson Regional Hospital in Poughkeepsie, where he was operated on for a rifle shot wound in his pelvic area, police said.
Davey was listed in stable condition Wednesday after “extensive surgery ... to repair damage from the gunshot wound,” according to an emailed statement from state Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos.
MidHudsonNews.com reported the gun was a 30-30 rifle.
Seggos and state police said Davey and another conservation officer, Lt. Eliza Bobseine, were investigating “potentially illegal” hunting off Silvernails Road when they came upon fresh tire tracks leading into a cut cornfield.
While walking through the field, Davey was shot one time, police said.
Police said Blanchard and his hunting partner, James Brown of Pine Plains, remained at the scene and aided with rescue efforts. Brown was not charged, according to state Trooper Melissa McMorris.
Bobseine “is credited with saving Officer Davey’s life for her quick and heroic actions in the field,” Seggos said. “Lt. Bobseine was able to quickly apply a compress to the wound while calling for support and keeping the suspects under control [a] half-mile into a field. It’s clear that if it were not for her actions, Officer Davey would not have survived.”
The state Department of Environmental Conservation did not immediately respond to a reporter’s questions about whether the officers were wearing any bright-colored clothing while investigating or whether any additional charges were pending.
Authorities said Blanchard was arrested after an investigation determined his reckless conduct led to the accidental shooting.
Blanchard is due back in Livingston Town Court at 7 p.m. Dec. 8.
Seggos’ email said Davey graduated from the department’s Basic Police Academy in 2005 and is assigned to patrol Columbia County. He is a Division of Criminal Justice Services certified police instructor and recently become a certified firearms instructor for the department, Seggos said.
He is married to Department of Environmental Conservation Forest Ranger Nancy Davey.