A drunken Schenectady parolee struck and killed a bicyclist during a police pursuit early Saturday through Albany, Colonie, Niskayuna, Schenectady and finally Rotterdam, authorities allege. The dead cyclist was pinned to the ladder rack of the fleeing truck most of the pursuit.
Pablo Cruz, 39, of 1060 Helderberg Ave., was charged with second-degree manslaughter, second-degree vehicular manslaughter, driving while intoxicated and parole violation, according to an Albany County Sheriff’s release Saturday. Cruz was released from state prison on Nov. 2.
His victim was identified as Paul J. Merges, Jr., a 45-year-old Albany resident. He is survived by several local family members, according to Albany County Sheriff Craig Apple.
Authorities gave the following account:
It was about 12:50 a.m. when a sheriff’s investigator saw a white Chevrolet pickup truck headed east and speeding on Central Avenue in the town of Colonie. The investigator turned around to follow the truck and activated his emergency lights, but the vehicle’s driver fled, going into Albany. As the pursuit continued into the area of Manning Boulevard, the truck struck a bicyclist, who flew up onto the truck and was pinned to the ladder rack.
The pursuit continued, heading back into Colonie and into Niskayuna and Schenectady, according to the release.
Finally, the truck’s engine blew and the truck came to a stop on Curry Road in Rotterdam. The bicyclist’s body was still pinned on the ladder rack.
Cruz was taken into custody and transported to Albany Medical Center, having sustained several injuries.
The pursuit involved members of the Albany and Schenectady County Sheriff’s Offices and members of the following police departments: Albany, Colonie, Guilderland, Niskayuna, Schenectady, Rotterdam.
Cruz was arraigned in Albany Police Court and sent to the Albany County jail with no bail. State Division of Parole records show Cruz was previously convicted of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance.