NISKAYUNA: Local woman dies in crash

The funeral for a 23-year old local woman, Kari Montalto, was held on Saturday as police were still looking for answers as part of their investigation into the fatal car crash that claimed her life last week.

Montalto died shortly after the pick-up truck she was a passenger in was struck in the side by a late-model Lexus sedan near the intersection of Hillside and Providence avenues, according to police. Her death marks the second time in seven months that a Niskayuna resident has died as the result of a traffic fatality.

The crash took place after 10:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 13, as Montalto and her boyfriend, Leo Savoie, 36, were leaving from an evening dinner with her parents. After the collision, Savoie was flown by helicopter to Albany Medical Center for treatment while Montalto was rushed to Ellis Hospital.

Officials at Albany Medical Center declined to give out information on Savoie's condition due to confidentiality rules. Initial police reports indicate that he was ticketed at the scene for going through a stop sign on Hillside just before the crash occurred.

The driver of the sedan, Jacquelyn Mountain, 69, of Scotia, was not seriously injured in the crash. Efforts to reach law enforcement officials were unsuccessful.

A lifelong area resident, Montalto was the youngest of five children and graduated from Niskayuna High School in 2001. She went on to earn an associate's degree in business administration from Schenectady County Community College and work at the Watervliet Arsenal. Before taking that position, she reportedly tried her hand at owning a small hair salon and tanning business but it closed after only a few months in operation.

Both Hillside and Providence avenues carry a substantial amount of traffic during morning and afternoon commuting. In recent years, town officials have widened the northern end of Hillside in an attempt to ease traffic congestion and increase safety. Providence is a county controlled road that hasn't been modified since additional development in the area increased commuter traffic.

The collision claiming Montalto's life was just the latest instance of a motor vehicle accident leading to the death of a Niskayuna woman. On Aug. 4, 2006, Rita Evans, an 86-year old local woman, died after being struck by a tow truck as she was crossing the street near the intersection of Balltown Road and Route 7. No charges have been filed against the driver, and local police have said it was unclear why the well-known physical fitness buff was crossing the busy street after dark. "

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