Early morning crash claims life

A two-car accident in front of Crossgates Mall last week resulted in the death of a passenger in one of the vehicles.

On Friday, Nov. 17, at about 8:30 a.m. on Western Avenue at the entrance to Crossgates Mall, a 1998 Saturn, which police said was driven by Sasiano S. Suda, 40, of Albany, was heading westbound on Route 20 when it struck a 2004 Toyota 4-Runner driven by Michelle Burton, 40, of East Berne, traveling eastbound on Western Avenue and making a left turn into the mall's entrance.

The contributing factors to the accident were alcohol intoxication and traveling at a high rate of speed, said Sgt. Glenn Stevens with the Guilderland Police Department.

A passenger in the Saturn, Joseph K. Albert, 24, of Albany, was pronounced dead at Albany Medical Center shortly after arrival. Albert was extricated from Suda's vehicle by the Westmere Fire Department. Suda and Burton were also transported to Albany Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

Stevens, who is overseeing the investigation, said Suda's blood alcohol content following the accident was determined to be .15 percent, almost double the legal limit. Additionally, Stevens said, investigation shows the speed at which Suda was traveling to be somewhere around 80 mph, double the speed limit on that stretch of road. The rate of speed is still not conclusive, said Stevens.

"We're still working on that," he said. "That's an estimate right now."

Stevens said the investigation is being conducted through scientific analysis, including crush and momentum tests, and by eyewitness accounts. Stevens said the department is working with several witnesses in the investigation.

Both vehicles were taken to the department's impound lot following the accident, said Stevens.

"They were crushed," he said. "Both vehicles had major damage."

Suda was arraigned on the following charges: DWI, third degree assault, second-degree vehicular manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide.

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