Jury: No basis for suit in sled death

A state Supreme Court jury deliberated for about three hours Thursday before finding no basis for a

A state Supreme Court jury deliberated for about three hours Thursday before finding no basis for a lawsuit filed by an Amsterdam woman whose 10-year-old son was killed in an April 2003 sledding accident.

The jury found no cause for the suit filed against homeowners Orlando and Renea Pacheco of Cleveland Avenue, Amsterdam.

The child, Michael L. Sandy Jr., was killed when his inflatable sled entered Cleveland Avenue and he was hit by a pickup truck driven by his father, Michael L. Sandy Sr. The father was on his way to pick up his son at the Pacheco home where the boy was playing with the Pachecos’ two sons and another friend.

The boy’s mother, Michelle Brick, filed the suit, alleging the Pachecos were negligent for failing to supervise the sledding activity on their lawn.

The trial began Monday before Judge Richard C. Giardino.

Brick’s attorney, Kimberly Boucher Furnish of the Schenectady firm of Conway & Kirby, told the jury in her closing statement the Pachecos “were negligent in failing to watch those kids sledding on that hill.” She said the Pachecos knew there was an issue with sledding on their hill.

The Pachecos’ lawyer, Thomas E. Kelly of the Amsterdam firm of Horigan, Horigan Lombardo & Kelly, said the boys, ages 10 to 13, were old enough that Orlando Pacheco did not have a duty to supervise their every activity.

Referring to testimony that the boys had been warned not to ride their sleds into the road, Kelly said, “They all knew they weren’t supposed to do that.”

Kelly called the incident “a horrible, horrific accident,” but emphasized “that’s all it was.”

“To blame the Pachecos for the boy’s death … it’s not right, it’s just not fair and it’s not the law in New York state,” he said.

Furnish, referring repeatedly to the boy by his nickname, “Mikey,” said that when the Pachecos allowed their sons’ friends on the property “they assumed a duty to watch all the boys.”

There was testimony that the children were out of Orlando Pacheco’s sight for only about 15 minutes when the accident occurred.

Witnesses testified, Furnish told the jury, that if Orlando Pacheco has inquired about the planned sledding activity as the boys finished playing video games and went outdoors, the accident could have been avoided.

The lawyers could not be reached late Thursday afternoon for comment.

Categories: Schenectady County

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