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Off-duty cop spots boat in deadly hit-and-run

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Posted at 3:18 PM, Aug 05, 2016
and last updated 2016-08-05 15:18:29-04

An off-duty police officer from Cheektowaga played an integral role in finding the alleged culprits who were involved in a boating hit-and-run that claimed the life of an 8-year-old girl.

Officer Timothy Turnball was on vacation at the Tea Island Resort on Lake George on July 25. Around 9:15pm, the 13-year veteran of the force and his fiancé were sitting on a deck overlooking the lake when a boat with its lights off pulled up nearby.

Five people got off the boat and Turnball overhead them telling each other not to say a word to anyone, to be quiet and to not post anything on social media. They then called for a ride and were picked up in a car.

Turnball thought it was suspicious, so he wrote down the registration number of the boat and called the Warren County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies and State Police immediately came to the scene after telling Turnball they were looking for the boat that was involved in a hit-and-run that killed an 8-year-old girl and critically injured her mother.

Turnball’s quick thinking led to the arrest of the suspects. Prosecutors have a strong case against the five, saying they have witness testimony and video of the incident, both from drones above the lake and from close up.

The Albany Times-Union reports that authorities believe the five people in the boat had been drinking the day while attending Log Bay Day, a gathering of swimmers and boaters in a remote cove on Lake George that usually features alcohol and nudity.