The man accused of driving drunk nearly two years ago and causing a crash that killed his two passengers and injured a Schenectady man in another car pleaded not guilty Monday to a new indictment in the case.
Tyler S. Pascuzzi, 26, of Coxsackie, appeared in a packed Albany County Courtroom Monday morning on the new indictment charging him with aggravated vehicular homicide.
If convicted of the most serious count he faces up to 81⁄3 to 25 years in state prison.
Among those present was a woman identified as the mother of 24-year-old Alicia M. Tamboia of Dutchess County. Tamboia was one of the two people killed in the crash.
The mother tried to get in front of Pascuzzi while holding a photo of her daughter as Pascuzzi left the courtroom.
Court security ordered her to sit back down.
“He couldn’t even look at me,” the distraught mother said aloud after Pascuzzi and others left.
Pascuzzi remains free on $250,000 bond.
The top counts in the indictment are the same as filed against Pascuzzi in the days after the July 4, 2014, crash on the Thruway in Guilderland.
Police accused Pascuzzi then of driving drunk and at a high rate of speed west on the Thruway about two miles east of Exit 25 just before midnight that night when he struck a car driven by Brian T. Miller Jr., then 29, of Schenectady.
The new indictment cites a blood test of Pascuzzi, alleging that his blood alcohol level tested at 0.18 or more. The exact figure isn’t cited.
Pascuzzi’s car, which carried two passengers, then went on to strike a tractor-trailer, cutting the car in half.
Pascuzzi’s two passengers, Cody J. Veverka, 23, of South Cairo, Greene County, and Tamboia of Wingdale, Dutchess County, were ejected and pronounced dead at the scene.
Miller’s car crashed into the center guardrail before coming to rest, police said. He was taken to Albany Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries.
Miller’s father, Brian T. Miller Sr., also of Schenectady, attended Monday’s arraignment and lashed out at Pascuzzi in his own way as Pascuzzi left the courtroom, yelling out and calling him a “piece of [expletive].” Miller’s son did not attend the proceedings.
The father said his son still suffers headaches as a result of the crash.
In all, Pascuzzi faces 14 counts, including two counts of second-degree manslaughter; two counts each of aggravated vehicular homicide and first-degree vehicular manslaughter referencing the individual deaths and an additional count of each referencing both deaths; and multiple driving while intoxicated counts.
Pascuzzi is represented by attorney Steve Coffey. Coffey afterward said he believes the length of time between the accident and indictment shows the difficulties in the case.
“This case is going to be defended,” Coffey told reporters. “It’s highly defensible.”
When asked for details, Coffey cited “things that I know that you don’t know.” He declined to specify further.
Coffey called the incident a “horrible, horrible scenario” and said his heart goes out to the families of those who died, “but that doesn’t mean a crime was committed.”
The case is being prosecuted by Mary Tanner-Richter of the Albany County District Attorney’s Office. Judge Thomas Breslin presided.