WILLSBORO - A former town supervisor who allegedly ran over two women while driving intoxicated in 1984 recently had another DWI charge against him dropped for lack of evidence.
James R. Morse Jr., 68, of Willsboro plead guilty to a minor traffic violation in Willsboro Town Court June 4 after originally being charged with DWI, a crime he was convicted of more than two decades prior.
Morse was Essex Town Supervisor in January 1984 when he collided with two pedestrians outside the Wadhams Volunteer Fire Department.
According to an article published in the New York Times, Olive Anson and her sister-in-law, Georgianna Anson, were crossing the street after an evening Grange meeting when Morse's truck hit them at full speed, killing Olive Anson on impact and injuring her sister-in-law.
Suspecting drunkenness, state police arrested Morse, who refused a breathalyzer test. A court-ordered blood test revealed his blood-alcohol content to be 0.13 percent. The legal limit at the time was 0.10.
A grand jury indicted Morse on misdemeanor DWI charges for the incident, but declined to have him tried on possible charges of vehicular manslaughter, a felony.
A year went by before Morse's guilty plea ended with a conviction for DWI in March 1985. He was sentenced to three years probation, a $500 fine, and had his driver's license revoked.
Despite significant public outcry, Morse remained in his post as supervisor until he lost his re-election bid later that same year. He was elected to several more terms as a town councilman, however.
Drunk behind the wheel
More than 24 years later, Morse found himself charged with DWI once again.
According to police reports, Morse was parked at the Willsboro Boat Launch April 6 when a state police trooper found him asleep in the driver's seat of his blue Ford pick-up at about 4 p.m.