COLONIE: Witnesses detail legislator's fatal drive

Comella simply made the wrong choice, she said.

That choice was to not accept the ride home from the hired limousine driver.

Only one in the party of six accepted the ride, said Tuffey. All others were driven back to the office where one other person got a ride home from a family member.

"They had planned this thing the best one could hope," said 1st Sgt. Lenny Couch with the Albany County Sheriff's Department Stop DWI program. "They planned to go back to one location, but what was almost a perfect plan had a flaw right from the get go."

That flaw, said Crouch, was to not seek rides back to their respective homes but instead to their cars at the office.

Comella crashed, but what happened to the rest, asked Crouch.

"Did they drive intoxicated, legally intoxicated, impaired or sober?" he said.

According to the investigation, at approximately 10:55 p.m., Comella was dropped off at her vehicle in Latham. She then left the parking lot, traveling west on Columbia Street, crossing Route 9 and entered the Route 7 highway exit ramp driving eastbound in the westbound lanes.

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. Fox suffered minor injuries.

Responding troopers said they detected an odor of alcohol at the scene.

If Comella had survived the accident, she would have been arrested for driving while intoxicated, said Tuffey. The people who were with her that night learned a tough lesson, she said.

Comella was the manager of the Loudonville branch of Coldwell Banker Prime Properties. Before her election to the legislature in 2004, she was involved in several local charity organizations. She was past president of the Loudonville Elementary School Parent-Teacher Association.

Comella was to run for a second legislative term in the upcoming elections.

She was one of eight Republican legislators in the 39-member county council as well as the sixth legislator representing portions of Colonie.""

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