Chenango, N.Y. (CBS TAMPA) — A Florida man charged with intentionally hitting and killing a New York State Trooper said that he has no idea how the incident happened, claiming that he was miles away and a “time warp” may have contributed to the incident.
Almond Upton, 60, of Melrose, Fla., was charged with the first-degree murder of state trooper Christopher Skinner at his arraignment on Thursday night, WBNG-TV reports. Police say Upton swerved his white Toyota Tacoma just before noon on I-81 Thursday, striking and killing Skinner instantly.
Skinner, a 13-year veteran of the state police from Binghamton, had pulled over a separate vehicle for speeding, and was outside of his vehicle when Upton allegedly switched lanes and struck the trooper.
After hitting Skinner, Upton drove a short distance further before ditching his vehicle and taking off on foot. A police K-9 unit tracked him through the woods, where officers found him naked sometime around 1 p.m.
“I’m not sure yet, I didn’t mean to,” he told a WBNG reporter outside the courthouse for arraignment.
But he had changed his story after he was charged. “I don’t know how it happened. It had to be a time warp,” he added.
“I was two miles away from the Connecticut border, and all of a sudden I’m in Binghamton, New York, being beamed to New York, and this cop got killed,” he told WBNG after being charged with first-degree murder.
“The cop that got killed, I don’t know how it happened, there had to be a time warp. Honestly, I’m not bull****ing. I have proof in Connecticut. It’s a time warp or something had to happen,” Upton added.
Police said Thursday that Upton did not appear to be under the influence of any drugs or alcohol, Press Connects reports.
“I’m not sure what his mental state was at the time of the accident,” State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said of Upton. “He did make admissions that he saw the trooper and intentionally struck him.”
A Florida neighbor, Michelle Weeks, described Upton as dramatic, but an overall nice guy, WBNG reports. She noted that he has a wife and son in Melrose.
Upton was convicted of a 2008 DUI charge, in which he was fined $1,000 and sentenced to 12 months’ probation for the incident, according to Press Connects. At the time, his license was revoked for six months.
Skinner is survived by his mother, fiancée, and two children. Upton is being held in Broome County Correctional Facility without bail.
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