Benjamin Smith, Assistant Professor in the School of Medicine and Dentistry at the University of Rochester Medical Center, was arraigned Monday morning for leaving the scene of a fatal car crash that occurred at 2 a.m. on Sunday, April 3 near Strong Memorial Hospital.
Smith, 42, who has been employed by URMC as a researcher in the neurodevelopment and pediatrics department since 2008, pleaded not guilty in City Court on Monday to charges of leaving the scene of a personal injury incident before emergency vehicles arrived — a felony.
The license plate of Smith’s sedan was found tangled in the wreckage of the crime, leading police to his house, only four blocks from the scene of the crime. Police said that upon arriving at Smith’s house, nearly 12 hours after the incident, Smith acknowledged both having been in an accident and leaving the scene.
According to police, the two-vehicle crash occurred at the junction of Castleman and Rossiter roads after Smith ran a stop sign going westbound on Rossiter Road. Police said Smith then struck a northbound SUV, causing it to overturn and trapping Raymond E. Arnold, 21, of Rochester, beneath. Arnold was taken to Strong, where he died from his injuries later Sunday morning.
UR President Joel Seligman said in a statement that the University had encouraged Smith to take a leave of absence and anticipated that he would comply.
He also urged “sensitivity” toward the situation, stressing that, “Our hearts go out to the victims here; this is a terrible tragedy.”
URMC released a statement Monday, saying “URMC extends its heartfelt condolences to the family of Raymond Arnold, the young man who was tragically killed in an auto accident in the neighborhood adjacent to the Medical Center early Sunday morning. We were deeply saddened to learn this morning that one of our faculty members has been arrested and charged with leaving the scene of that accident. As the investigation evolves and we gain more information, we will continue to work with Benjamin to determine the most appropriate course of action regarding his University responsibilities.”
Smith was being held on $10,000 cash bail Monday and was scheduled to return to City Court on Tuesday, April 12 at 11 a.m. with an attorney. Rochester police are still investigating the crime and have yet to determine if alcohol or other illicit substances were involved.
Buletti is a member of
the class of 2013.