An Albany man responsible for a fatal accident on Western Avenue in November, pleaded guilty in Albany County Court Tuesday, Feb. 20, to vehicular manslaughter.
District Attorney David Soares said Sasiano Suda, 40, of Albany, pleaded guilty before Judge Dan Lamont to one count of manslaughter in the second degree and one count of misdemeanor driving while intoxicated. In exchange for his plea, Suda will avoid a trial but still faces a sentence of three to seven years in prison.
On 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 and struck a 2004 Toyota 4-Runner driving eastbound and 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 Michelle Burton, 40, the driver of the 4-Runner, 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.
Chemical tests showed Suda's blood-alcohol content three hours after the accident to be .15 percent, almost double the legal limit. According to the investigation, police estimated Suda's speed to be somewhere around 80 mph, double the limit on that stretch of road.
The impact of the crash totaled both vehicles.
"They were crushed," said Stevens. "Both vehicles had major damage."
Soares said he was pleased with the guilty plea and said that DWI crashes are the greatest criminal threat to the health and safety of Albany County residents.
"Too often in the past, alcohol-related fatalities were still considered 'accidents.' I don't consider this to have been an accident," said Soares. "This was a case of manslaughter, and hopefully a term in state prison will ensure that Mr. Suda never repeats the criminally dangerous act of getting behind the steering wheel after consuming alcohol or any other mind-altering drug.""