Schenectady County

Children to sue ex-trooper who ran over their dad

The children of Chad Finch are filing a wrongful death suit against the former state trooper who ran

The children of Chad Finch are filing a wrongful death suit against the former state trooper who ran him over while off duty.

Less than a week after a grand jury dismissed the charge against Brian Beardsley, who struck the 29-year-old Finch early in the morning on May 22, lawyers are readying litigation that would hold Beardsley liable for the death of Finch. An autopsy on Finch’s body indicated Beardsley’s pickup truck fatally injured him.

Lisa Chamberlain, the mother of Finch’s 10-year-old son, Chad Finch Jr., met with her lawyers Thursday in their Niskayuna office to pursue a personal injury lawsuit in the name of her son and Alexia Finch, Finch’s 7-year-old daughter by another woman.

“Obviously the claim will be one for wrongful death,” said Attorney Robert Bruschini of the Martin Harding & Maszotti law firm.

“Whether there will also be a negligence claim, probably, but I haven’t styled the complaint yet.”

Authorities determined that Finch was lying on County Highway 110 at 2:40 a.m. May 22 when Beardsley ran him over. Beardsley’s girlfriend called police to report that there was a body on the side of the roadway, but when police arrived no vehicles were on the scene.

Deputies later arrested Beardsley in Amsterdam.

After a three-day proceeding, the grand jury last Friday dismissed the charge against Beardsley, 32, of Amsterdam, for leaving the scene of a fatal accident, a felony under state Vehicle and Traffic Law.

Now that the criminal investigation is officially closed with the grand jury’s decision, Finch’s family is free to pursue civil lawsuits against Beardsley if they wish, said Bruschini.

“There are really only two available paths — the criminal path and the civil path, and that’s the one that we’ve been retained to handle,” he said.

Bruschini said a suit will likely be filed within the next two months as he and attorney Maryanne Low-Haviland gather information.

“We serve nothing unless we have a good basis to do so,” he said. “Mechanically, there is a lot of the investigation being held only by authorities and it has not been released to us because it was a criminal investigation. And now that it’s not, we can begin our own investigation.”

Bruschini said he believes Chamberlain has good grounds for a wrongful death suit against Beardsley, as wrongful death suits filed in New York state must meet a lower threshold of proof than the one required in a criminal trial.

Chamberlain is not asking for a specific amount in damages for Finch’s two children. A jury would determine the amount, Bruschini said.

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