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Man convicted for unlawful imprisonment in Swan Lake


January 10, 2014

District Attorney Jim Farrell announced today that John Irby, 34, of Ravena, NY was convicted, by jury verdict, in Sullivan County Court of Unlawful Imprisonment and various other charges.

Farrell said the jury deliberated for about 6 hours before returning its verdict. Irby was arrested on June 25, 2013, by the New York State Police, after numerous calls were received of a female being abducted in the area of State Route 55 in Swan Lake.

After police responded, Irby engaged in a lengthy high speed pursuit that ended in Irby being stopped and taken into custody by a detective from the Sullivan County’s Sheriff’s Office and New York State Troopers.

According to witnesses, the victim, a 23 year old woman, jumped out of the window of the car, as it was moving, near Old White Lake Road and Stanton Corners Road, and was screaming for help and trying to get away from Irby. Irby stopped the vehicle and then grabbed the victim by her hair and dragged her, screaming, back to vehicle and sped off.

The victim, who was in a relationship with Irby, told police that Irby punched her in the face and said he was “going to kill” her, he was going to crash the car and that she “was going to die today.” The victim was five months pregnant at the time. She sustained multiple abrasions to her body and face.

The proof showed that Irby was speeding in excess of the posted limits and at times in excess of 80 mph, overtaking multiple vehicles in no passing zones on the left and on the right and disregarding multiple stop signs. Two children, age 2 ½ and 16 months were in the car during the pursuit. Irby will be sentenced on April 1, 2014.

Farrell said Irby faces a maximum of 2 to 4 years in state prison as a second felony offender having previous felony convictions for Criminal Sale of a Controlled Substance in the 5th Degree in 2002 and Attempted Criminal Possession of a Narcotic Drug in the 4th Degree in 2004.

Farrell praised the work of the State Police in investigating the case and Detective Joe Browne of the Sheriff’s Office, “Detective Browne was able to safely and professionally get the defendant to stop his vehicle and his actions clearly prevented any further harm befalling the victim or anyone else using the roadways that day.”