CARMEL It's been written that death is a career move.

But for William Arksey, it was simply a way to avoid arrest.

Arksey, 53, formerly of Danbury, Conn., pleaded guilty yesterday in Putnam County Court to second-degree forgery, a felony, after admitting he filed his own death certificate to avoid arrest for skipping out on a misdemeanor drunken-driving charge in 1997.

It was only after Arksey recently served time in the Pennsylvania prison system that Putnam County authorities learned that the report of his demise specifically, his death certificate was, in fact, greatly exaggerated.

Arksey, who then went by the name of William Peterson, was arrested by state police in July 1997 on a charge of driving while intoxicated. After he failed to show up in court, a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Assistant District Attorney Mary Jane MacCrae said that Arksey filed the bogus death certificate at Southeast Town Hall on Sept. 10, 1997.

"He did it with the intent to have it filed with the town of Southeast to get a criminal charge dismissed," MacCrae said.

Information was not available on what was listed as the cause of death.

Judge Robert E. Miller, who accepted Arksey's plea, appeared taken aback by his actions. "This is really a unique trick you tried to play," Miller said. "You were just planning to make yourself dead?"

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