Alleged Hit-Run Biker Who Left 18-Year-Old NY College Student In Coma Enters Plea

The man accused of hitting a University at Albany student from Long Island with his dirt bike, leaving her in a medically induced coma, formally responded to the charges against him.

Austin Breyette and Alexa Kropf.

Austin Breyette and Alexa Kropf.

Photo Credit: Albany County DA // GoFundMe user Christine M.

Albany County resident Austin Breyette, age 25, of Watervliet, pleaded not guilty to assault and related charges on Monday, June 3, stemming from an alleged hit-and-run crash that seriously injured UAlbany freshman Alexa Kropf.

The 18-year-old Kropf, a Long Island native from Floral Park, was struck just blocks from the UAlbany campus at around midnight Saturday, April 27.

When officers arrived, they found the young woman lying in the roadway along Hudson Avenue with a serious head injury and a broken leg, police said.

Witnesses told investigators that Kropf was struck by a man who was driving an illegal dirt bike at a high rate of speed while weaving in and out of groups of people in the roadway. He then fled the scene.

The teen was thrown into the air and landed on the pavement several feet away, breaking five ribs and her leg, and suffering swelling in her brain. She was taken to Albany Medical Center Hospital in critical condition and was placed in an induced coma.

In the weeks since the crash, Kropf has undergone multiple surgeries to relieve the brain swelling, with additional surgeries on her pelvis and leg. Doctors had to put a plate in her tibia due to the compound fracture.

She is no longer in a coma and is breathing on her own, but faces “a long journey” with speech, occupational, and physical therapy, relatives said in a GoFundMe campaign.

“She definitely needs assistance with everything that she does. Going to the bathroom needs two people to carry her to a chair,” her father, Jim Kropf, told Albany station WNYT.

“Cognitively, she’s getting there. Not quite there yet. She is putting some sentences together and some words together. Do they always make sense? No, unfortunately. But she does recognize people and who we are, which is nice to see.”

Breyette was arrested early Thursday, May 23, after Albany Police executed a search warrant at his Watervliet home. In court Monday, he pleaded not guilty to the following charges:

  • Second-degree assault
  • Leaving the scene of an incident without reporting
  • Two counts of tampering with physical evidence

He was jailed on $100,000 bond and is due back in court on Monday, July 1. 

“Albany Police Department detectives worked tirelessly to ensure that the perpetrator of this egregious, unconscionable act was held accountable,” Chief Eric Hawkins said in a statement. “Alexa and her family will continue to be in our thoughts and prayers as she recovers."

The GoFundMe campaign, created to help Kropf’s family with the mounting medical bills, has raised over $100,000. Those who wish to donate can do so here.

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