JOHNSBURG — The lawyer for a North Creek man who was accused of lying to police when reporting that he was stuck on a Gore Mountain Ski Center lift overnight earlier this year said his client is taking the case to trial because he didn’t make a false statement.
Isaac Hyde, 37, was charged with making a false written statement, a misdemeanor, about three weeks after he reported that he spent the night of March 31 and part of the morning of April 1 stuck on a ski lift that stopped for the day as he headed up the mountain.
Hyde was discovered by ski center personnel at 8 a.m. on April 1 when the lift restarted and he was taken to the top of the mountain, and he told them as well as State Police that he had been on the lift since late afternoon the day before, enduring a cold, snowy night about 30 feet off the ground.
The day he was arrested, State Police would not say what portion of the written statement that Hyde gave them was allegedly false.
His lawyer, Marc Zuckerman, said that Hyde is adamant that he did not lie to police or fabricate the report that he was on the lift overnight and he has not given any different version of events despite the fact that troopers repeatedly questioned him. At one point they asked him to take a polygraph test, which prompted him to call Zuckerman, and Zuckerman advised him to not take it and have police go through him.
He said the Warren County District Attorney’s Office has turned over all of the evidence except for one statement of one potential witness, and there has been nothing to show that Hyde’s statement was false. There are no footprints in the snow reported to the lift tower, no surveillance video or any other evidence to show the report was fabricated, Zuckerman said.
Zuckerman said officers in four State Police vehicles arrived at Hyde’s mother’s home to arrest him the day he was charged in what was clearly an effort to intimidate him and dissuade him from potentially suing over the staff’s error in leaving him on the lift.
“Their response was so heavy-handed,” Zuckerman said.
State Police talked to many of Hyde’s friends and acquaintances, falsely accusing one of letting Hyde spend the night at his home when he said he was on the lift, Zuckerman said.
Zuckerman said Hyde at first had no intention to sue Gore or the state-run Olympic Regional Development Authority.
But after his arrest, he retained the law firm of Brennan & White, which recently filed a notice of claim against the state. A notice of claim is the precursor to a lawsuit that is required when planning litigation against a municipal agency.
Hyde, meanwhile, is dealing with the ramifications of being branded a liar and questioning whether he can ski on the mountain he has skied for decades. He also worked there part-time years ago.
“He feels like he can’t ski at Gore anymore. This is his home mountain,” Zuckerman said.
The case is pending before acting Johnsburg Town Justice Eric Schwenker, but no trial date had been set as of Wednesday.