ATHENS — A New Paltz, New York man is facing nearly a dozen charges following a traffic incident that occurred on Wilawana Road Sunday evening.
According to police, an officer from the Athens Township Police Department witnessed an individual driving a white pickup truck without a license plate or rear lights, who failed to stop at a stop sign as he passed another vehicle on the right.
Police explained that a traffic stop ensued, where it was discovered that the driver was 27-year-old Billy John Bates.
Bates stated that he had passed the vehicle because it wasn’t moving, police said.
When asked for his driver’s license, registration and proof of insurance, police said Bates replied that “he didn’t have any of that.”
When asked why there was no license plate on the vehicle, Bates stated that he had no idea who owned the truck, and that he “found (it) in the middle of the road and was trying to flee New York because things were really bad there.”
The vehicle identification number was ran, and officers learned that the plates had been voluntarily surrendered.
Bates advised officers that he was homeless and “trying to head somewhere new because there are no jobs in New York.”
Additionally, police said Bates admitted to officers that he “straight up stole” the vehicle because it had a full tank of fuel and the keys were in it, so he was going to go as far as he possibly could and then “ditch” the vehicle.
Police discovered that the owner of the vehicle had taken the truck to a garage for repairs, and it was going to be used as a plow truck on the owner’s property.
The owner of the garage noted that Bates had formerly worked there, and would know that the keys would be kept in the vehicle outside, police said.
Police explained that Bates was taken into custody for the traffic violations as he was an out-of-state resident with no permanent address.
Bates was subsequently charged with one count of receiving stolen property, one count of unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, failure to drive on the right side of the roadway, disregarding traffic lanes, duties at a stop sign, careless driving, driving without a license, no rear lights, improper display plate, and overtaking a vehicle on the right.
Bates was arraigned on $75,000 bail by Magisterial District Judge Jonathan Wilcox, and will answer to the above charges before Magisterial District Judge Larry Hurley on Nov. 12.