Friends and colleagues are remembering Ann Comella, a well-liked and respected member of the Albany County Legislature, who died Thursday, Feb. 1, from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident on Alternate Route 7 Monday, Jan. 29.
Comella was pronounced dead at 9:40 a.m. at Albany Medical Center Hospital.
The wife and mother of two daughters, ages 24 and 21, was a prominent member of the community and the 25th Legislative District she had represented since her 2004 election.
We are going to miss her. When she walked into a room, she had a presence and was always smiling, even on a tough day, said Christine Benedict, Republican minority leader in the county Legislature.
Benedict said she worked hand-in-hand with Comella, a first-term Republican legislator, in her most passionate of goals, which included the county's nursing home issues and holding the district attorney more accountable when it came to domestic violence issues.
Comella's death came as a shock to Benedict and fellow politicians. She was tough, and many were sure she would survive her injuries, Benedict said.
As of Monday, Feb. 5, state police were still looking into why Comella, 54, drove 1.4 miles on the wrong side of the road.
State police responded to the accident at 11 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 29. Comella's vehicle had overturned after sideswiping the vehicle of Kelly Fox, 20, of Altamont. According to police, Comella entered Alternate Route 7 at the Route 9 entrance near Columbia Street Extension. She traveled approximately 1.4 miles before colliding with Fox.
Police believe Comella was attempting to enter Interstate 87 southbound to return home from Albany when she entered Alternate Route 7 exit ramp, heading east in the westbound lane.
Police described Fox's injuries as minor. Both Fox and Comella were treated by Colonie EMS and transported to Albany Medical Center Hospital.