County executive spokesman pleads not guilty in alcohol-related crash

By Kelly McCarthy
By Candace Chapman

County executive spokesman pleads not guilty in alcohol-related crash

September 11, 2013 Updated Sep 12, 2013 at 2:21 AM EDT

Binghamton, NY (WBNG Binghamton) The Broome County executive's communication coordinator has been suspended indefinitely without pay after pleading not guilty Wednesday to charges related to a drunk driving crash in March.

Jim Worhach, 28, pleaded not guilty to one count of driving while intoxicated, a class E felony, and one count of leaving the scene of an accident, a traffic infraction.

Worhach left the Broome County Court Wednesday morning with no comment.

A grand jury handed up the indictment Aug. 20. It states he was driving in an intoxicated state on Colfax Avenue in Binghamton on March 3. The indictment states Worhach caused personal property damage, but it does not detail what kind of property damage. It also accuses him failing to stop or report the incident to police.

Worhach is charged with a DWI felony because of a previous conviction in 2005. On Dec. 17, 2004, he was arrested for driving while intoxicated. On April 15, 2005, Worhach entered a plea deal to a misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level greater than 0.08, and paid a fine of $500.

Worhach is the appointed communications coordinator for County Executive Debbie Preston. Preston has not yet commented on the incident, but Deputy County Executive Bijoy Datta said Wednesday they are doing an internal review.

Datta would not say if the county executive's office knew of the prior legal run-ins before the indictment.

"I hate to sound like a broken record," Datta said, "But we're doing an internal review and we're going to take appropriate actions as things go forward and we'll be happy to share a little more about that as things progress."

Datta said Worhach was not at work on Wednesday and has been suspended indefinitely without pay.

Worhach's driver's license is currently suspended.