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Scotia parade crash victim identified

Scotia parade crash victim identified

Van driver also known in the community
Scotia parade crash victim identified
Police investigate a fatal accident that happened at the Memorial Day parade in Scotia.

SCOTIA -- The victim in Wednesday night's crash during the Scotia-Glenville Memorial Day parade was Charlene Pomichter of Glenville, police said Friday afternoon.

Pomichter, 69, was vice president of the Glenville Senior Citizens, the non-profit group that runs senior programs at the Glenville Senior Citizen Center on Worden Road. She has been vice president for just over a year.

Scotia police also identified the driver of the Glenville Senior Citizen Center van that struck and killed Pomichter as 75-year-old Roger Peugh of Scotia.

"Drug/alcohol use was not a contributing factor in the incident," village Police Chief Peter Frisoni said in a press release.

The incident occurred about 6:40 p.m. Wednesday as a parade division marshaled on Hawk Street to enter the parade route, which went down Mohawk Avenue to Collins Park.

Pomichter was killed when the van accelerated unexpectedly and struck her, pinning her against an assisted living facility van in front of her. Several people in the area ran to her aid and she was separated from the vehicles. Police haven't said what caused the vehicle to go forward.

A nurse and members of the Thomas Corners Fire Department nearby responded, treated her and performed CPR until Scotia Fire Department paramedics arrived, police said. She was taken to Ellis Hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Glenville Town Supervisor Chris Koetzle, who called what happened a "tragic accident," said he knew both the victim and the driver.

Pomichter was often present when Koetzle visitied the senior center. "I know she was an active volunteer at the senior center," he said. "She was active at the front desk and active in the lunch program at the senior meals site."

She was the coordinator of the volunteers who staff the front desk at the center, which is open five days a week.

Peugh is a former town building inspector, though it was before Koetzle's time in office, which started a decade ago. He is anquished by the incident, Koetlze said.

"Roger's a phenomenal guy," Koetzle said. "I've worked with him as a Rotarian, and he's got a heart of gold. This was an accident and I know he's dealing with that."

Because both were known in the senior citizen community, grief counseling was offered at the senior center starting Thursday, and will remain available at least through Wednesday.

Participants of the 91-year-old parade stage on multiple side streets, including Hawk, before they enter the main Route 5/Mohawk Avenue parade route. Organizers said that's how the parade has been organized for decades, so while there will almost certainly be a review, little may change.

The nature and extent of what happened hadn't been immediately clear to other parade participants, even after a planned Memorial Day service had been held at Collins Park, officials said. The parade had started at 6:15 p.m., and proceeded to its finish.

"It was such a freak accident, I just don't know what more can change to prevent something like," said Koetzle, who participate in the parade but was in a section ahead of Hawk Street division.

Among the other parade participants in the area at the time were middle school members of the Schalmont marching band.

Schalmont Middle School Principal Scott Ziomek put out a letter to parents later Wednesday night noting that some members of the band had witnessed the accident. The band was right behind the vehicle that struck the woman.

Counseling was being made available to students who sought it, the school district said.

Reach Gazette reporter Stephen Williams at 518-395-3086, [email protected] or @gazettesteve on Twitter.

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