Schenectady County District Attorney Robert Carney announced that Colin S. Rochelle, 39, was sentenced on Monday, February 28, 2022, to four years in state prison in relation to a December 28, 2020, car crash in which a local woman was seriously injured. Rochelle pleaded guilty to Assault in the Second Degree and Driving While Intoxicated. At sentencing, the victim addressed the judge with the support of family who were present. Family members also contributed written statements that were filed with the court. The victim described the multiple injuries she suffered during the head-on collision. Rochelle had driven the wrong way on I-890 without headlights that night while intoxicated. It took over an hour for the victim to be extracted from the wreck so she could be flown by emergency evacuation helicopter to Albany Medical Center, where the victim spent nineteen days without the comfort of family due to the strict COVID restrictions at the time. Only virtual visitation was permitted through the use of a tablet.
Multiple surgeries led to the installation of fifty-seven screws, four rods, and seven plates to repair the damage to over a dozen locations in the victim’s body. It took seventy days before the victim was able to stand with assistance, though it would be one-hundred and seven days before the victim was mobile with the use of a walker. Nevertheless, the victim stated, “I just want to get back to normal, but I don’t even know what normal looks like now. I have to take medication everyday just to be able to walk without being in a tremendous amount of pain. Even with medication and a cane, it still hurts to walk by the end of the day. It is painful to get around and it makes it hard to want to go out and do things.”
The victim described her gratitude for her family who provided constant care but also a sense of humiliation, saying, “After this traumatic accident, I could do nothing but ask for help…. My entire life has changed. A year later and I still feel as though I’ve been a burden to everyone who has been affected by this.” Defendant Rochelle apologized several times, stating that he had not realized, until the victim spoke, of the depth of the harm he had caused. He acknowledged that he was at fault and that the sentencing procedure was not about him but about recognizing the damage done to the victim.
After listening to the statements, Acting County Court Judge Mark Caruso pointed to Rochelle’s history of consuming alcohol, starting at the age of ten, regular use of marijuana, and other drugs as part of his decision to sentence Rochelle to the maximum period of post-release supervision. Judge Caruso also issued a nine-year stay-away order, which bars Rochelle from all contact with the victim, and a restitution order. Upon release from prison, Rochelle must install and comply with the proper use of an ignition interlock device in any vehicle to which he has access for a three-year period. Rochelle will have to reapply for a driver’s license before he can lawfully drive.
Schenectady County Assistant District Attorney Kimberly K. Waldin prosecuted the case. Attorney Lee C. Kindlon represented Rochelle. For more information contact ADA Waldin at 518-388-4364.