CLIFTON PARK -- Troy's City Council president was drunk when she chased a Rotterdam motorist for nearly 30 miles last week -- from Interstate 890 to the Northway and into Clifton Park, according to court documents.
State police arrested Carmella R. Mantello, 53, on one count of driving while intoxicated Wednesday. In addition to the misdemeanor DWI charge, she was ticketed her for following too closely, according to police.
Her arrest came after troopers received a call from a terrified motorist who told dispatchers an unknown driver was tailgating him and driving erratically, despite numerous attempts to get the driver to pass or move on, according to the man's statement to police.
The incident ended on Route 146A, where troopers caught up with the motorists and pulled Mantello over. She denied following the man and claimed she was the one being followed -- statements troopers said were inconsistent with their observations, according to court documents.
Mantello told troopers she had been at Rivers Casino in Schenectady and was driving to her home in Troy, according to police. She also told troopers at the scene of her arrest that she thought she was in Rotterdam, not Clifton Park.
Troopers said her blood alcohol content was found to be 0.13 percent, though she was also charged with refusing a breath test.
The Rotterdam man's statement outlines his account of what proceeded Mantello's arrest. He indicated he had been out that evening, headed to Whole Foods in Colonie, and did not know who was tailing him or why. At the chase's conclusion, he said he was surprised the person following him was a woman, as he did not get a good look at the driver during the incident.
The man first noticed he was being followed at about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday, as he exited the toll booth from Interstate 890 to access Interstate 90, according to his statement to police. The vehicle came up on him at a high right of speed and got "extremely close" to his vehicle, he said.
"Eventually, while still on I-90, I moved over to the middle, hoping the vehicle would pass me," he told police. "But it also changed lanes behind me and continued to tailgate me and flash its high beams at me."
The vehicle continued to follow him onto the Northway and as he exited the highway at Wolf Road, he said.
"At this point, I began to become fearful and I called 911 and I continued north on I-87," he told police, according to court documents.
The vehicle continued to follow, even cutting off other drivers to stay behind him. The dispatcher told the man to pull in to the state police barracks off of Exit 9, but the barracks appeared dark, and he was uncomfortable stopping there, he said. He continued to Exit 10, turned around and went back to Exit 9 and onto Route 146, with the other vehicle following him the whole way.
"I had to stop for a red light on (Route) 146, and the truck was right on my bumper," he told police. "I had the fear that this person was going to shoot me."
Troopers caught up with him and the pursuing driver shortly they pulled away from the traffic light.
Mantello issued a statement to local media, including Daily Gazette news gathering partner CBS6, after her arrest.
"I understand the severity of my actions and take full responsibility. I apologize to my family, friends and constituents and am deeply sorry that I let you down," she said. "I expect more from myself. Finally, I would like to personally thank the New York State Troopers for their professionalism in this matter and the service they render every day to keep our communities safe."
Mantello was released to return to court later.
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