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LATEST NEWS: Second charge in a week due to fatal accidents in Slingerlands

DELMAR – A 28-year-old Clifton Park man was indicted today by the Albany County Grand Jury for allegedly causing the death of Shawna Marzahl of Selkirk following a fiery crash on Route 85 last month.

Matthew Monthie, 28, of Clifton Park, turned himself in to Bethlehem police on the six-count indictment unsealed at 9 a.m. in Albany County Court for the crash near the Albany City line on May 1.

He was charged with manslaughter – second degree, assault – second degree, vehicular manslaughter – second degree, all felonies, and DWI, DWAI – combination of alcohol and drugs, and reckless endangerment – ​​second degree, all felonies.

Bail was set at $50,000 cash or $75,000 partially secured during the hearing by Albany County Judge William Little. A bail officer was present at the hearing to arrange the release.

Matthew Monthie walks into Bethlehem police station on June 7 to turn himself in. Photo by John McIntyreSpotlight News

The judge also ordered Monthie to wear an electronic monitoring device.

He was released on the partially secured bond.

According to the complaint, Monthie is accused of “speeding, failure to maintain lane, after consuming a significant amount of cannabis and alcohol.”

His BAC was more than 0.08 percent, according to a blood test taken the day of the crash, the complaint said.

On May 1, witnesses said Monthie was driving at speeds of nearly 100 mph on Route 85, where it narrows from four lanes to two near the City line with Albany. The final investigation report from the Albany County Crash Team is not yet available, but the initial report was listed as “an unsafe speed.”

According to the accident report, Monthie’s Subaru WRX drove into oncoming traffic, after missing several cars, hitting a Ford Escape driven by Marzahl. Both vehicles caught fire and several Good Samaritans pulled both from the burning vehicles before fire departments from Albany, North Bethlehem and Slingerland arrived to extinguish the flames.

Marzahl died at the scene, Bethlehem police said, and Monthie was taken to Albany Medical Center Hospital with what were later described as serious injuries. He submitted to a blood toxicology test at the hospital.

Shawna Marzahl was killed in the May 1 crash on Route 85

A third vehicle, driven by a Slingerlands man, suffered windscreen and front end damage from flying debris as a result of the crash. That vehicle was directly behind Marzahl’s, the accident report said.

He will next appear in court on July 9 for a compliance conference.

Monthie is represented by Stephen Coffey, of O’Connell & Aronowitz.

A two-vehicle crash on Route 85 claimed the life of a driver on Wednesday, May 1. Photo by John McIntyre Spotlight News

The route

The stretch of Route 85, a state highway, where both crashes occurred is very unique because it is a four-lane highway that begins at I-90 in Albany but narrows to two lanes when it crosses the Thruway.

People traveling by road know that the reduction is coming and often aim for a front position before the bridge. The road is two lanes for approximately 1.4 miles, returning to four lanes at the roundabout at Blessing Road.

The original project that installed the four roundabouts on Route 85 did not include creating four lanes, but in subsequent years DOT widened the shoulders in preparation for the expansion. DOT said at the time that the item would be addressed at a later date in another phase of the project.

When Times Union columnist Chris Churchill contacted DOT last week to ask about the 2007 road project, DOT responded: “Since Wednesday’s tragic incident along State Route 85 in the town of Bethlehem is the subject of a police investigation, we can no further comment at this time. ”

Statistics from the Bethlehem Police Department show that many collisions have occurred on the road, but most have been caused by vehicles hitting animals.

More than 450 accidents occurred on that stretch of Route 85 between October 2008 and May 2024, most of which involved animals. 26 of the accidents involved injuries that required ambulance personnel. Since 1982, at least six fatal head-on crashes have occurred on the two-lane section of the highway.

Of the six fatal accidents, five occurred within 60 meters of the main bridge and five were alcohol or drug-related accidents, but those after May 1 do not count.

The stretch of Route 85 in Bethlehem, where five fatal accidents have occurred since 1982

More crashes since then

Since the May 1 crash, there have been two more head-on crashes on Route 85, both of which were alcohol-related.

On May 26, two people were charged with DWI on the two-lane stretch, one involved in the crash and another witnessing it.

According to police and accident reports, Lendell Moore, 27, of Slingerlands, was driving west (from Albany) on Route 85 at approximately 9:49 p.m. when his gray 2008 Chevy Malibu crossed the double yellow lines into oncoming traffic.

A second car was hit head-on and caught fire. The occupants of that vehicle were not injured. Moore suffered lacerations and bleeding from the crash, reports said.

He was charged with DWI and other traffic violations.

According to the accident report, on Tuesday, June 4, at approximately 9:58 p.m., a motorcycle driven by an Albany man crossed the center line near Couse Lane, in Slingerlands, and struck an SUV coming from the opposite direction. The motorcyclist did not have a license to drive one and charges and fines depend on the outcome of blood toxicology tests.

The motorcyclist was seriously injured in the accident and the other driver was also injured. Both were taken to Albany Medical Center Hospital.

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John is the publisher at Spotlight News. He is a journalist and photographer with 40 years of experience. He is a graduate of MCLA and Syracuse University.

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