MONTGOMERY COUNTY – A Montgomery County jury on Friday found Aaron M. Munise guilty of negligent homicide in the death of New York State Trooper Jeremy Van Nostrand.
Negligent homicide in New York is a class E felony, which carries a maximum sentence of up to four years in state prison and can include a substantial fine.
VanNostrand, 36, was killed on Nov. 27, 2018 when he arrived for work outside of the state police barracks on Route 5s in the town of Glen and his personal vehicle was struck by a Ryder Freightliner box truck driven by Munise.
“Munise failed to stop, and without applying the brakes at all, crashed into the back of VanNostrand’s Nissan Altima forcing the Altima into the path of an on-coming pick up truck,” reads a news release from Saratoga County District Attorney Karen Heggen’s office. “VanNostrand’s vehicle was struck head-on. He was attended to immediately by members of the New York State Police who responded to the crash from the barracks, and was transported to Albany Medical Center, where he passed away from the severe injuries sustained in the crash.”
Heggen acted as the special prosecutor for the case due to a conflict that prevented Montgomery District Attorney Lorraine C. Diamond from prosecuting the case.
Munise’s trial lasted for nine days prior to the jury’s decision Friday afternoon and was presided over by acting Montgomery County Court Judge Traci DiMezza.
“The jury’s verdict today holds Mr. Munise responsible for his criminally negligent conduct that resulted in the tragic death of Trooper VanNostrand,” reads a press release statement from Heggen.
State police Maj. Robert Patnaude, VanNostrand’s commanding officer, was among the the speakers at a 2019 ceremony during which Maple Avenue Extension in the town of Amsterdam was renamed Sgt. Jeremy VanNostrand Memorial Drive.
“His death was 100 percent preventable, if the driver would have just been focused on driving instead of other things,” Patnaude said. “This happens every day. Jeremy was just going to work, like millions of people do every day, people who are driving these machines, that weigh thousands of pounds and they are focused on other things instead of on their driving.”
In July 2019, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law renaming a stretch of Route 5s after VanNostrand.
VanNostrand, a resident of Rotterdam, was survived by his wife and high school sweetheart, Angela deAraujo VanNostrand, and their daughter and his parents, Andrew VanNostrand of Northville and Julia Brockhum of Gloversville.
Munise, 34, who resides in Johnstown, is scheduled to be sentenced by Judge DiMezza on July 9.
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