Florida man charged with murder of state trooper on I-81

Trooper Christopher Skinner, a 13-year veteran of the New York State Police, was killed on duty shortly after noon on Thursday, May 29 after he was struck by a car during a traffic stop on I-81 in Broome County. 

Police say the man driving the car -- a resident of Melrose, Florida -- hit Skinner intentionally, after first striking two other cars. The man, 60-year-old Almond Upton, has been charged with first-degree murder in Skinner's death.

According to an account from the New York State Police, Upton struck two cars traveling northbound on I-81, causing minor injuries to one driver. He then spotted Skinner conducting a traffic stop, veered over from the passing lane into the driving lane, and struck Skinner, sideswiping the car that had been stopped by the trooper. 

Skinner was killed instantly. 

Police say Upton then abandoned his car and fled into the woods. He was found and taken into custody about an hour later.

According to New York State Police superintendent Joseph D'Amico, who spoke to the Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin, Upton admitted to police that he struck Skinner on purpose.

Skinner, a Binghamton resident, was assigned to the Traffic Incident Management Unit of Troop C, in Delaware County.

State police will hold a press conference at 5 p.m. on Thursday to discuss Skinner's death at the Binghamton station, on 84 Crescent Drive in Kirkwood.

Skinner's death was announced in a news release by state police late Thursday afternoon:

New York State Police Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico is saddened to announce the death of Trooper Christopher G. Skinner. Trooper Skinner was last assigned to the Traffic Incident Management Unit (TIM Detail), Troop C, Delaware County.

Around 12:00 p.m. on May 29, 2014, Trooper Skinner was outside his marked State Police car conducting a vehicle and traffic stop on I-81 north of exit 6, between Chenango Bridge and Castle Creek, Broome County, when he was struck by a passing vehicle. Trooper Skinner was killed instantly.

The driver continued on a short distance before stopping and running into nearby woods. The operator was taken into custody shortly after 1:00 p.m. following a search.

Trooper Skinner was a 13 year veteran of the New York State Police. He worked in Troops C, E and G. He was assigned to the TIM detail in June 2008.

Trooper Skinner is from Binghamton, NY and is survived by his mother, Sharyn, brother, Shawn, fiancé, Surrena, and two children, 15-year-old Kyle and 12-year-old Erin. Trooper Skinner was 42 years old.

Funeral arrangements will follow.

State Police would like to thank the Broome County Sheriff's Office, U.S. Marshal Service, Castle Creek Fire Department, and other federal and local first responders for their assistance.

Updates to the case will be posted on the online newsroom.

Update, 11 p.m.: This story has been updated to include information on the man who has been charged with first-degree murder in Trooper Christopher Skinner's death.