Driver pleads guilty in Johnstown crash that killed teen, injured sister

Thursday, June 14, 2012
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— A 20-year-old Gloversville man pleaded guilty Wednesday to manslaughter in the death of a friend following a high-speed crash in the town of Johnstown late last year.

Justin M. VanNostrand, 20, of 186 Elmwood Ave. Extension, also pleaded guilty in Fulton County Court to reckless endangerment in the accident, which critically injured another passenger in his vehicle.

VanNostrand faces 21⁄3 to seven years in prison when he is sentenced July 13 by Judge Polly Hoye. Had he gone to trial, he could have faced up to 15 years in prison on the manslaughter charge.

Christopher Insogna, 19, of Caroga Lake, a passenger in VanNostrand’s vehicle, died in the accident. His sister, Kelsey Insogna, 17, sustained severe injuries after being ejected from VanNostrand’s vehicle. VanNostrand and the Insognas were friends.

The Fulton County Sheriff’s Office said VanNostrand was driving at more than 80 mph in a 55 mph zone when his vehicle entered an intersection without stopping and struck an embankment in front of a house at 2151 Route 29. His vehicle then crashed into a truck parked in front of the house, flipped over it and came to rest on its front bumper between the truck and the house. Authorities said VanNostrand was racing along the road with friends when the accident occurred.

Assistant District Attorney Chad Brown said the plea deal had been in the works for several months and that the family of the victims was aware of the arrangement.

“The Insogna family was aware of the offer and were present in court. Due to the nature of the case, I wanted them to know what was going on,” he said.

The Insogna and VanNostrand families declined comment on the case Wednesday.

As part of the plea deal, VanNostrand waived his right to appeal and will make restitution of an amount yet to be determined, Brown said. When VanNostrand appears for sentencing, the Insogna family may present a victim impact statement, he said.

VanNostrand remains free on $10,000 bail.

Brown said he had a strong case based on evidence about the accident and the speed of the vehicle. He declined further comment.

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