GUILDERLAND: Driver gets prison time

An Albany man was sentenced to state prison on Tuesday, April 17, for a November accident in front of Crossgates Mall that left one dead.

District Attorney David Soares said Sasiano Suda, 40, was sentenced to three-and-a-half to seven years after he pleaded guilty on Feb. 20 to one count of manslaughter in the second degree and one count of DWI.

The accident occurred Friday, Nov. 17, at around 8:30 a.m. on Western Avenue at the entrance to Crossgates Mall. A 1998 Saturn driven by Suda was speeding westbound when it struck a 2004 Toyota 4-Runner driven eastbound by Michelle Burton, who was attempting to make a left turn into the mall's entrance.

Suda's passenger, Joseph K. Albert, 24, of Albany was pronounced dead at Albany Medical Center shortly after arrival. Suda and Burton were also transported to Albany Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.

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

Suda's blood alcohol content following the accident was determined to be .15 percent, almost double the legal limit, three hours after the crash. An investigation determined Suda's speed to be somewhere around 80 mph, double the speed limit on that stretch of road.

According to the district attorney's office, Suda, an immigrant from Micronesia, faces deportation once his sentence has been served.

"The sentence imposed on the defendant today is a reminder to everyone that DWI crimes are not merely 'accidents' and that those who commit these crimes will continue to face severe penalties," said Soares. "It is my hope that the conclusion of this case today will help bring about the healing process and closure necessary for the two families whose lives have been forever changed by the incidents of that November morning."

Assistant District Attorney Mary Tanner-Richter from the Major Offense Unit handled the prosecution of the case.""

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