Driver in fatal hit-and-run receives up to 7 years in prison

Amber Suprunchik, 38, of Dolgeville, received up to seven years in state prison on Thursday in Cortland County Court for her involvement in a fatal hit-and-run in Cincinnatus on June 15, 2021. (Photo via Kevin L. Smith of The Cortland Voice).

An emotional crowd filled the Cortland County Court on Thursday as they awaited the state prison sentencing for Amber Suprunchik.

Suprunchik, 38, of Dolgeville, received a sentencing of up to seven years in prison for a fatal hit-and-run accident in the town of Cincinnatus on June 15, 2021. She was convicted in June (2023).

Suprunchik was sentenced on Thursday for the following convictions:

  • Leaving the scene of a fatal and injury accident without reporting – 2 ⅓ to 7 years
  • Criminally negligent homicide – 1 ⅓ to 3 years.
  • Tampering with physical evidence – 1 ⅓ to 3 years

On the day of the accident, Suprunchik struck two bicyclists with her Jeep Grand Cherokee and fled from the scene on Route 26 in Cincinnatus. One of the bicyclists, Kitt Warren of DeRuyter, was killed. The other bicyclist, John C. Rutan of McGraw, suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

Police reports noted Suprunchik tampered with her Jeep after the accident. Parts of her vehicle were left behind at the scene of the accident. Following a lengthy investigation, Suprunchik was officially arrested on Oct. 8, 2021.

Back in March (2023), Suprunchik told the court that her hypoglycemia condition clouded her ability to remember the accident.

“I wish I had the answers, as I do not have memories of the accident,” Suprunchik said on Thursday.

Amber Suprunchik, 38, of Dolgeville, received up to seven years in state prison on Thursday in Cortland County Court for her involvement in a fatal hit-and-run in Cincinnatus on June 15, 2021. (Photo via Kevin L. Smith of The Cortland Voice).

Frank Mellace, Suprunchik’s defense attorney, said her client maintains her innocence. Mellace noted Suprunchik “didn’t have consciousness” of the accident or leaving the scene.

A handful of Kit Warren’s family and friends provided statements on Thursday. Scott A. Warren, brother of Kit Warren, said he has waited over two years to hear Suprunchik’s fate.

“How has (Amber’s) life been impacted?,” Scott Warren said. “I don’t understand this justice system in letting a killer out on her own recognizance, and then again from the time she was found guilty of three felonies by a jury of her peers.”

His brother’s ashes, Scott Warren said, have been in an urn “this whole time.”

“His life was cut short, hers went on,” Scott Warren said.

Shawn Roser-Warren, Kit’s wife of 38 years, detailed the life she had with her husband.

“Our time together was special. We laughed together and cried together,” Roser-Warren said.

Roser-Warren said her and Kit “started business and built a home together,” and had “many plans for the future,” including retirement.

“It was all taken away from me. Now, I have to start over,” Roser-Warren said. “I struggle every day to deal with the many emotions and scars that I now carry…the memories of Kit, and the sadness, heartbreak and devastation you have left, Amber.”

Roser-Warren mentioned that on the day of the accident, she was getting worried about the whereabouts of Kit Warren. That’s when she drove to Cincinnatus and found out he was gone.

“My heart was shattered and I was in complete shock. He was my everything,” Roser-Warren said, noting Kit Warren was “thrown 156 feet” into a ditch and lying lifeless. “(Amber’s) careless actions will remain with us forever.”

Roser-Warren said that Kit was “so many things to so many people.”

“(Kit) deserves justice for his life being cut short. I deserve justice for losing him,” Roser-Warren said.

Rutan, who suffered a concussion, back injuries and other injuries, spoke of the uncertainty behind the long-term effects of his injuries.

“I’m not sure if my spine and lower back will function well in the future,” Rutan said. “And to be clear, the concussion still sustains displacement, as my memory and reading ability has been hampered.”

Aside from his personal struggles, Rutan noted Kit Warren’s death has heavily impacted his family, friends and surrounding communities.

“We lost a great friend,” Rutan said.

Mellace expressed his empathy for those who were close to Kit Warren.

“It’s a terrible tragedy. There’s no two ways about it,” Mellace said in his statement on Thursday.

But, Mellace added, it has “also been a tragedy for Ms. Suprunchik.”

“I know many of the people think that life has gone on just as normal and that (Amber) has no remorse, but nothing could be further from the truth,” Mellace said. “She has suffered, mentally, physically and emotionally. Her life has been turned upside down.”

Suprunchik provided a statement prior to her sentencing.

“Words cannot express the sorrow I feel that transpired on that day (of the accident),” she said. “I pray with all my heart to heal all of your sorrows. I’m so sorry.”

Suprunchik will appeal her sentencing. Details surrounding her case in appellate court remain to be seen.