Fulton County trial begins with tears

The sadness was palpable Tuesday as testimony began in state Supreme Court in Fulton County to deter
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Categories: Schenectady County

The sadness was palpable Tuesday as testimony began in state Supreme Court in Fulton County to determine whether an Amsterdam couple was liable in April 2003 when a boy sledding on their Cleveland Avenue lawn slid into the roadway and was killed by a pickup truck driven by his father.

The father, Michael L. Sandy Sr., then 33, was on his way to pick up his son, 10-year-old Michael L. Sandy Jr.

Testimony Tuesday afternoon on the first day of the trial before Judge Richard C. Giardino was repeatedly interrupted as witnesses sobbed.

The boy’s mother, Michelle Brick, filed suit against the homeowners, Orlando and Renea Pacheco, seeking unspecified compensation for the loss of the child. The suit alleges the Pachecos were negligent by failing to supervise the sledding.

Brick is represented by attorney Kimberly Boucher Furnish of the Schenectady firm of Conway & Kirby.

Thomas E. Kelly of the Amsterdam firm of Horigan, Horigan Lombardo & Kelly represents the defendants.

A third-party action against Michael Sandy Sr. was later dropped.

The first two witnesses called by Furnish were the Pachecos.

Orlando Pacheco said he returned home that April 5 after a partial night shift at the Wal-Mart Distribution Center in Johnstown. Pacheco said his two sons and their two friends, including Sandy, were playing video games. He said he was watching television that Saturday when the boys informed him they were going out to play.

A late season snowstorm covered the ground. Pacheco, who said when his boys were sledding he would station himself near the road to prevent them from entering it, said the children were not supposed to be sledding that day.

He said he told the four boys to be careful around the dog, a St. Bernard that Pacheco said is not always friendly.

As he was watching television, he said, one of his sons ran in the house and told him to call emergency dispatchers.

Renea Pacheco, who had driven to a store when the accident occurred, testified she returned to see the child lying in the street, his father crying.

Testimony will resume at 9 a.m. today. The Pachecos’ two sons, now high school students, are scheduled to testify.

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