Jury finds trooper caused 2005 collision in Gloversville

A State Supreme Court jury deliberated about five hours Wednesday before deciding a state trooper in

A State Supreme Court jury deliberated about five hours Wednesday before deciding a state trooper involved in a 2005 accident with a Lexington Center van in Gloversville was reckless and largely responsible for the crash that injured three.

The trial, before Judge Richard C. Giardino, resolved responsibility for the accident but did not address damages and compensation. The jury got the case around 11:30 a.m. and returned a verdict about 4:30.

Gloversville lawyer Robert Abdella, who sued Trooper Toni Brennan on behalf of the van’s driver, Kathleen H. Collins, said the two sides will now try to reach a settlement. If that fails, he said, a second trial will resolve a monetary award.

This is already the second trial in the case. A mistrial was declared by Giardino in March 2009 after the jury returned a contradictory verdict; that finding stated Brennan was not driving with reckless disregard for safety when she entered the intersection of Route 30A and Route 349 that Nov. 3, but assigned her most of the responsibility for the accident.

Testimony showed Brennan was southbound responding to a report of a fight on Progress Road when she entered the intersection against a red light at 57 mph. The speed was recorded by the computer in the state police vehicle.

Abdella said testimony Wednesday determined Brennan was actually accelerating at the light and was not using her siren.

Brennan testified that she had her dome and grille lights activated and was using an intermittent siren as she approached the intersection.

Clifton Park attorney John Pennock, lawyer for van passengers Stephen Rix and Terry Thomas, joined Abdella in presenting a case against Brennan, who was represented by state Assistant Attorney General Kent Sprotberry. Pennock and Sprotberry could not be reached for comment late Wednesday afternoon.

“We’re very pleased,” said Abdella. Collins had the green light, testimony showed, and was westbound on Route 349 — also known as State Street — on her way to a Lexington Center dance at the Lexington facility on State Street.

Abdella said the case failed to settle prior to trial because state officials apparently decided it would be difficult for a jury to find Brennan exercised reckless disregard for safety.

Categories: Schenectady County

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