NYS Police: Man hit, killed Trooper Skinner on purpose (with photos)

By Anna Norris

May 29, 2014 Updated May 30, 2014 at 12:19 PM EDT

Town of Chenango, NY (WBNG Binghamton) New York State Police said the man who hit and killed a trooper Thursday afternoon did so intentionally.

As a result, the suspect, Almond Upton, 60, of Melrose, Fla., was charged with first-degree murder.

At approximately noon Thursday on Interstate 81 north near exit 6, Trooper Christopher Skinner, 42, had a BMW pulled over for a speed violation, according to state police.

That's when state police say Upton intentionally swerved from the left lane to hit Skinner as he was standing outside his cruiser.

According to state police reports, Skinner died instantly.

Upton continued a short distance before stopping and running into the woods nearby. He then took off his clothes, for reasons unknown, according to state police.

Two helicopters and dogs were deployed in the search. Upton was found and taken into custody at shortly after 1 p.m.

State police also said he side-swiped two vehicles just before hitting the trooper.

A gray Nissan Altima and an orange Pontiac Aztec were hit by Upton’s white truck. Upton fled the scene. The Nissan was a rental car. One person in one of those vehicles sustained minor injuries and was taken to Wilson Hospital. The condition wasn't available late Thursday.

At a press conference held in Kirkwood around 5 p.m. Thursday, state police said Upton was driving from Florida on his way to Connecticut.

He was convicted of a DUI in Florida in 2008, but did not appear to be under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash, according to state police.

The investigation is ongoing and state police said I-81 will be closed for some time.

Interstate 81 northbound traffic will be diverted off exit 6 to U.S. Route 11 northbound and back on I-81 at exit 7.

The Department of Transportation said there is no estimated time for the reopening of that portion of the highway.