TOWN OF AMSTERDAM -- Maple Avenue Extension was renamed Sgt. Jeremy VanNostrand Memorial Drive on Friday in a ceremony that honored the career of the trooper who was killed last year in a car crash.
Amsterdam Town Supervisor Tom DiMezza spoke at the ceremony. DiMezza said VanNostrand often spent time patrolling Maple Avenue Extension, driving to and from Town Hall. He said VanNostrand wrote tickets and made arrests in Amsterdam that helped to improve public safety for the residents of his town. He also spent some time in DiMezza's home, eating his wife's home cooked brownies.
"He was actually like a third son to me," DiMezza said. "He would often stop at the house, when they were taking a break or something and get a drink. My wife would have something to eat for the guys, because he worked with my son, my son's a trooper. I'd see him quite often. My wife used to make him brownies all of the time, but they'd never make it to his house. He'd eat them before he got home."
Maple Avenue Extension, a Montgomery County road, was renamed by order of Montgomery County Executive Matt Ossenfort. A purple sign with the New York State Police seal and "N.Y.S.P Sergeant Jeremy J. VanNostrand Memorial Drive" printed on it was unveiled during the ceremony. The sign was erected by county personnel, including Dave Soulia, under the direction of County Highway Commissioner Eric Mead.
Montgomery County Sheriff Jeff Smith blocked off the road to allow for the memorial ceremony. VanNostrand's widow, Angela VanNostrand, and his parents, Andrew VanNostrand and Julia Brockhum, attended. Father Robert DeMartinis gave an opening prayer.
VanNostrand, who was 36 when he died, was killed on Nov. 27, 2018 when he arrived for work at 7:45 a.m. outside of the town of Glen state police barracks where he worked. He was driving his personal vehicle, a Nissan Altima and was stopped in the westbound lane, waiting to turn into the station when he was rear-ended by a box truck and pushed into the oncoming lane, state police have said. VanNostrand's vehicle was then hit by a pickup truck that was headed east.
State police Maj. Robert Patnaude was VanNostrand's commanding officer. He said there is still an ongoing criminal investigation into the circumstances of the accident, but the general public can still learn a lesson from the incident.
"His death was 100 percent preventable, if the driver would have just been focused on driving instead of other things," he said. "This happens every day. Jeremy was just going to work, like millions of people do every day, people who are driving these machines, that weigh thousands of pounds and they are focused on other things instead of on their driving. "We hope this sign and this road serve as a reminder to people to be careful."
This is the second section of a highway named after the fallen trooper. In July, Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed a law renaming a stretch of Route 5S after Sgt. Jeremy J. VanNostrand. He also often patrolled that stretch of Route 5S while conducting his duties.