Four workers, trucker injured in Thruway spur mishap

CANAAN—Four Thruway maintenance workers were hurt and a truck driver was ticketed for failure to move over as the result of a multi-vehicle crash involving two Thruway maintenance vehicles and a tractor-trailer on I-90, March 26.

The crash occurred at 10:40 a.m. at mile marker 23.4 westbound on the Berkshire Spur section of I-90.

The preliminary investigation by Thruway State Police revealed a tractor-trailer traveling west moved from the driving lane into a work zone and struck a Thruway dump truck with an attenuator, injuring two Thruway maintenance workers.

The tractor-trailer went on to strike a second Thruway dump truck with a tar trailer, injuring two more Thruway workers, traveled into the median and finally stopped after striking a guardrail.

Chatham and Valatie rescue squads took Thruway workers Brian D. Toniatti, 40, of Poestenkill; Lukas Poucher, 29, of Ghent; Jeremiah Case, 40, of Hudson and Timothy J. Blake, 40, Nassau to the Albany Medical Center with non-life threatening injuries.

The tractor-trailer driver, Sergio Cojocaru, 48, of Philadelphia, PA, was also taken to AMC with non-life threatening injuries.

Troopers ticketed Mr. Cojocaru for violating the move over law and several other vehicle and traffic law violations.

Canaan and Red Rock firefighters were on the scene until 11:30 a.m.


State Police from the Livingston barracks investigated a fatal train vs. pedestrian collision, March 26.

The victim has been identified as David C. Soka, 51, of Austerlitz and State Police report their preliminary investigation finds the manner of his death consistent with suicide.

Columbia 911 dispatched troopers to Station Road in Stockport at 10:38 a.m. Mr. Soka was found dead near the Stockport trestle on the Amtrak Empire Service line, north of the city of Hudson.

The Stockport Fire Department, Stottville Fire Department, Amtrak Police Department, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, and Amtrak National Railroad Passenger Corporation all helped in the investigation.

*Ramar Rhymaun, 21, of Stockport was charged with second degree criminal mischief, a class D felony, by Deputy Eric Ordway, March 7 at 9:15 p.m.

Mr. Rhymaun is accused of causing damage to the Stottville baseball field by “doing doughnuts/burnouts” with a vehicle. The damage to the field was estimated in excess of $4,000. He was arraigned in Stockport Court and was released on his own recognizance with a return court date of April 15.


City Police Officer Jacob Hoffman walked away with minor injuries after the police vehicle was he was driving was T-boned, March 20 at 3:08 p.m.

The Drug Abuse Resistance Education (DARE) with a conspicuous specialty paint job was totaled.

A Hudson police officer sustained minor injuries when his patrol car was hit in the driver’s side door at a Hudson intersection. Photo by Bill Williams

Hudson Police were called to the intersection of North Sixth and Columbia streets for a report of a two-car personal injury accident involving a police vehicle, March 20 at 3:08 p.m.  The call for assistance was made by Officer Hoffman, who serves as the Hudson Police Department’s School Resource Officer for the Hudson City School District.

When officers arrived at the scene, they discovered a 2016 black Honda Accord operated by Monish D. Patel, 18, of Hudson had struck Officer Hoffman’s assigned vehicle, a 2000 BMW sedan in the intersection.

Mr. Patel had a passenger, a 16-year-boy from Hudson.

Mr. Patel complained of pain, but declined medical treatment at the scene. His passenger claimed no injury, but was evaluated at Columbia Memorial Hospital. Officer Hoffman was examined at the hospital and treated for minor injuries.

Mr. Patel was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs (DWAI-drugs), unlawful possession of marijuana and vehicle and traffic law violations. The matter is still under investigation.

HPD was assisted by State Police from the Livingston barracks.

Officer Hoffman was driving the BMW DARE vehicle that we had seized from a drug dealer. It appears the injuries are minor, and it certainly could have been worse,” Hudson Police Chief L. Edward Moore said in a press release.

*Two local people were arrested for their involvement in illegal drug activity after search warrants were executed Friday, March 8.

Howard D. Mackey, Jr., 41, and Tasha N. Rogers, 36, both of Hudson, were each charged with third degree criminal possession of a controlled substance with intent to sell and third degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, both class B felonies, according to a press release from Columbia County Sheriff David P. Bartlett.

Sheriff’s Office Drug Enforcement and Education Unit members pulled over a 2003 BMW on Fairview Avenue in Greenport March 8 at 1:15 p.m. to make contact with Mr. Mackey and Ms. Rogers, who were the subjects of an ongoing drug investigation.

Following the traffic stop, investigators from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, Hudson Police Department, and the Capital District Drug Enforcement Task Force (DEA) executed a search warrant issued by Columbia County Judge Richard Koweek for the first-floor apartment at 340 State Street in the City of Hudson. The apartment belongs to Mr. Mackey and Ms. Rogers and the purpose of the search warrant was to allow authorities to search for and seize items related to the investigation into the sale and possession of heroin and fentanyl.

While executing the warrant, more than 20 grams of heroin, which can be equivalent to more than 400 doses was seized, along with a scale and packaging material. There was also $1,500 in cash recovered from Mr. Mackey. The street value of the heroin recovered is worth about $3,000.

The suspects were arraigned before Judge John Connors in Hudson City Court.

Mr. Mackey was sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $50,000 cash bail or $100,000 bond.

Ms. Rogers was jailed on $15,000 cash bail or $30,000 bond. Both defendants were to reappear in Hudson City Court at a later date.

As a result of this ongoing investigation, a second search warrant signed by Judge Koweek was executed March 11 for a 2003 BMW SUV, owned by Ms. Rogers.

Investigators seized $4,000 in cash and an electronic stun gun (Taser) from within the vehicle.

Mr. Mackey was previously the subject of a Sheriff’s Office drug investigation in which he was charged November 14, 2018 after being found in possession of about 40 grams of heroin, along with packaging material.

The Sheriff’s Office is being assisted by the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office.

Anyone with any information about illegal activity should contact the Sheriff’s Office tips line at 518-822-8477 and can remain anonymous.


Caitlin Utter, 24, of Hillsdale was charged with fourth degree grand larceny, a class E felony, by Deputies Jordan Brahm and Philipp Gomm, February 28 at 8:33 p.m.

Ms. Utter is accused of stealing a credit card. She was arraigned in Hillsdale Court and was released on her own recognizance with a return court date of April 17.

*Timothy Shufelt, 30, of Hillsdale was charged with third degree criminal mischief, a class E felony; second degree obstructing governmental administration, a class A misdemeanor; public lewdness, a class B misdemeanor; driving while intoxicated (DWI) and aggravated DWI, both class U misdemeanors; crossing road hazard markings, unsafe tires, operating out of restrictions, and consuming alcohol in motor vehicle, all traffic infractions, by Deputies Samantha Plass and Joseph Kilmer March 6 at 4:01 p.m.

Columbia County 911 dispatched deputies to a property damage accident on State Route 22, just south of State Route 23. The operator of the vehicle, Mr. Shufelt, was traveling northbound when he veered off the road and struck a sign post.

Deputies administered field sobriety tests to Mr. Shufelt, which he failed. A breathalyzer test was administered resulting in a 0.29% blood alcohol content (BAC.)

He is also accused of damaging property at the Sheriff’s Office Hillsdale Sub-Station while he was being processed.

He was arraigned in Hillsdale Court and sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond. He is due back in court at a later date.

To contact Diane Valden email moc.r1560765043epapa1560765043ibmul1560765043oc@ne1560765043dlavd1560765043


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