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Driver in fatal crash sentenced

It was a matter of only six seconds.

Six seconds was how long the light had been red. Six seconds before that, Edward Brooks should have stopped his vehicle, and those six seconds could have saved Elizabeth Comtois' life.

Brooks was sentenced Tuesday, Dec. 9, to three months in jail for running a light that had been red for six seconds and striking Comtois' vehicle, causing injuries that proved to be fatal. According to the district attorney's office, Brooks had been rushing to get to a meeting at Wal-mart.

In addition to the three months, Brooks was sentenced to five years probation, 500 hours of community service and the loss of his license for five years.

The accident that ultimately killed Comtois, 62, of Latham, occurred on Memorial Day at the intersection of Route 9 and Kunker Avenue.

[Brooks] ran a red light, and when he ran the light, Comtois was turning in a turning lane, said Heather Orth, director of communications in the district attorney's office.

On that day, Brooks' vehicle struck Comtois' in a T-bone fashion, leaving her with physical injuries for which she was treated at Albany Medical Center.

Comtois later died of her injuries on Monday, June 8.

"The situation here is, everybody in the beginning thought this was just an accident, but the more they looked into it, it was more than an accident," said Orth.

According to Orth, the Colonie Police Department was able to reconstruct the accident and determined that the light that Brooks ran had been red for six seconds. Because the light was red for so long, Orth said the district attorney was able to charge Brooks with criminally negligent homicide.

"He saw that the light was changing and didn't stop. It was negligence that caused him to hit her, and it led to her death," she said.

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