ALBANY — The driver who authorities said struck Blessing's Tavern in Colonie in October, injuring four people and setting the tavern on fire, was indicted Wednesday.
Michael Carr, 18, of Colonie, appeared in Albany County Court, where he was charged with assault and vehicular assault in connection with the Oct. 28 crash.
Carr pleaded not guilty.
Carr is accused of driving under the combined influence of alcohol and marijuana, driving at a high rate of speed, losing control and causing the crash, according to the indictment.
Carr faces up to 15 years in state prison, if convicted.
The indictment reflects an increase in the charges that were initially lodged against Carr; he originally faced vehicular assault, reckless endangerment and driving while ability impaired counts.
About 30 people were inside the tavern at the time a 2006 BMW, driven by Carr, crashed through the tavern wall at 1116 Watervliet-Shaker Road and burst into flames, police said at the time.
Carr and his 16-year-old passenger, Niko Dinovo, survived. Carr was taken to Albany Medical Center, and Dinovo was sent to Westchester Medical Center's burn unit. A restaurant cook and patron were also taken to Albany Medical Center.
The building sustained heavy fire damage and has since been demolished.
Carr's BMW hit the tavern after it left Consaul Road, just after 11 p.m., and struck a pickup truck and another car. The pickup truck also went through the tavern's wall, due to the force of the crash, police said.
Carr faces three counts of second-degree assault, one count of aggravated vehicular assault and three counts of second-degree vehicular assault.
Carr has been free under the supervision of probation since his initial arrest. Judge William Carter continued Carr's release Thursday.
Carr is represented by attorney Trevor Hannigan. The case is being prosecuted by Mary Tanner-Richter.