Witnesses who spotted Albany County Legislator Ann M. Comella as she was about to enter Alternate Route 7 heading in the wrong direction shortly before her fatal automobile accident Jan. 29 immediately contacted police, said authorities.
By the time they responded at 11 p.m., Comella's vehicle had already traveled that fateful mile and a half and was overturned on the side of the road after striking another vehicle.
A state police investigation has confirmed that Comella, 54, was legally intoxicated at the time of her accident.
Comella died Thursday, Feb. 1, from severe head injuries suffered in the Jan. 29 collision. She had been out with co-workers the night of her accident, authorities said, and toxicology reports released last week placed her blood alcohol content at .17 percent -- more than twice the legal limit.
Police traced Comella's steps that night as she and five co-workers from the Loudonville branch of Coldwell Banker Prime Properties boarded a limousine and celebrated the birthday of an employee at several Albany establishments.
We talked to the co-workers who were out that night, the limousine driver and the witnesses that saw her turn onto Alternate Route 7, said Maureen Tuffey, State Police Troop G spokeswoman. "The witnesses called it in. By the time they (troopers) got there, she had already crashed."
Tuffey said one witness who spotted Comella stopped at the Route 9 Columbia Street traffic light said she appeared intoxicated.
Comella and three other employees left the company headquarters on Columbia Street in Latham at approximately 5:15 p.m. The group then proceeded to Guilderland to pick up a fifth person. A sixth met them at their first location and shared the limousine thereafter.
Police said Comella and co-workers went to several bars in Albany. Tuffey would not identify the establishments but said there was no criminality found on their part.