Dash cam video released in fatal November Schenectady County Sheriff’s pursuit

Deputies approach the crashed car Nov. 14 in this dash cam video still
Deputies approach the crashed car Nov. 14 in this dash cam video still

Categories: News, Schenectady County

SCHENECTADY — The Schenectady County Sheriff’s Department on Friday released dash cam video of the fatal November pursuit that ended in a crash and the death of the driver deputies were pursuing.

Killed in the Nov. 14 crash on Nott Terrace was 30-year-old Zaquan M. Rucker of Albany.

Rucker was killed as he fled sheriff’s deputies and crashed into the Mohawk Opportunities building at 201 Nott Terrace, just before 9 p.m. that night, officials have said.

The Sheriff’s Department had previously offered a description of the brief, half-mile-long pursuit, but expanded the description Friday with the release of the footage. 

A state police investigation into the incident is continuing.

Investigators continue to await medical examiner’s reports with toxicology results. The state police also have yet to finalize their crash reconstruction report, sheriff’s officials said.

The 1 minute, 45 second video begins with the sheriff’s car headed north on Broadway, under the Interstate 890 overpass. The patrol car’s lights and sirens are off.

The released dash cam video:

The deputies were working to catch up to a car whose license plate had been read by a plate reader in the area of Broadway and Congress Street. The reader indicated the car had a suspended registration, the Sheriff’s Department said.

The deputies turned their patrol unit around to find the vehicle the plate reader had identified. The deputies then caught up with the vehicle at a red traffic light at Broadway and Millard Street, sheriff’s officials said in the release. 

The suspect vehicle stopped at the light in the right turn lane, but an uninvolved car was between the sheriff’s car and the car sought, according to the release and video. Two other uninvolved cars were stopped in the light, one each in the other two lanes. 

“The light turned green at which time the suspect vehicle began to accelerate at a high rate of speed up the hill on Millard St. before any attempt to stop the vehicle was made,” the sheriff’s release Friday reads.

The deputies turned on the patrol car’s emergency lights as they attempted to keep the vehicle in sight, officials said.

The reflection of the patrol car’s emergency lights can be seen about 34 seconds into the dash cam video. 

The first siren is heard about 49 seconds into the video.

“The qfficers were able to maintain distant but uncertain observation until reaching State St. where they came upon the crash scene a short distance away on Nott Terrace,” the release continued.

Once the deputies neared State Street, they can be heard on the video questioning whether the car turned onto State Street or kept going straight.

One appeared to believe the driver turned, while the other appeared to believe the driver went straight, before one finally can no heard saying “No, go, go, straight.”

Schenectady firefighters work at the scene to remove the driver after the crash. Photo by Peter Barber/Gazette Photographer

The patrol car continued straight a short distance before the deputies came upon the crash scene. “Right there, right there,” one says as they come upon the crash site about 1 minute, 8 seconds into the video.

The two deputies from the patrol car approach the crashed vehicle, their weapons drawn.”We’re going to need an ambulance on scene here,” one is heard saying, before appearing to reference the severity of the driver’s injuries.

Investigators later learned that, in addition to the vehicle’s registration being suspended, Rucker was operating the vehicle on a suspended non-driver ID and had six suspensions and/or revocations on his driving record, sheriff’s officials said.

In addition, Rucker’s arrest history included criminal contempt, reckless driving and resisting arrest charges, sheriff’s officials said in the release.

Officials did not provide an estimated time frame Friday on when the investigation might be complete.

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