By HEATHER NELLIS
Recorder News Staff
TOWN OF AMSTERDAM — One of the two young children airlifted to Albany Medical Center after a motor vehicle collision on Route 67 Sunday has passed away, a family member said.
Nine-year-old Elijah Sleight succumbed to injuries after he was taken off life support early this morning, said cousin Elisabeth Pratt of Saratoga Springs.
He’s the third fatality in the wreck — his mom, 33-year-old Tanya Sleight, and her girlfriend, 38-year-old Shyara Concepcion, were pronounced dead at the scene.
Sleight was driving Concepcion’s Honda westbound on Route 67 just before 6 p.m. when an eastbound van crossed the center lane and struck the vehicle head-on.
Elijah was riding in the backseat with his sister Naomi Sleight, age 2, and brother Matthew Sleight, 7. Hospital staff said Naomi is still listed in critical condition, and Montgomery County Sheriff Michael Amato said Matthew was released to family after evaulations at both the scene and St. Mary’s Hospital in Amsterdam.
A concerned motorist who called 911 Sunday evening to report an erratically-driven van on Route 67 witnessed the subsequent motor-vehicle collision.
Amato said the motorist asked for authorities to be dispatched to the area just before 6 p.m. after seeing the eastbound van, driven by 68-year-old David Bain, swerve around before running a red light at the intersection of Mannys Corners Road.
“The witness eventually caught up to the van, which was driving fast and slow, from one side to the other, even into the other lane at one point,” Amato said. “The van caused one vehicle to swerve off into the shoulder of the road, but there was no impact. The [motorist] continued north, and as they were on the phone with 911, they witnessed the accident when the van crossed into the southbound lane.”
Bain’s van struck Concepcion’s car, which was on its way back to Amsterdam after the pair picked up Sleight’s three children from the Ballston Spa area earlier in the day, Amato said.
Montgomery County Emergency Management Director Adam Schwabrow said members of the Cranesville and Hagaman Volunteer Fire Departments used the Jaws of Life to get the children out of the Honda.
He said the vehicle was “severely damaged” at the front end.
“That’s where the impact was,” he said. “The van also had severe front end damage, but I believe [Bain] got out on his own will before I got there.”
Amato said another vehicle, which was traveling behind the red Honda, was also tangled into the collision. It wasn’t able to stop in time, swerved into a ditch, and grazed the front of the Honda.
“It just barely touched it,” Amato said. “Those two [motorists] got out of the vehicle and were treated and released.”
Amato said Bain was treated for a head injury at St. Mary’s Hospital, where he consented to a drug and alcohol blood screen.
“He was driving north bound looking for Mannys Corners Road. He was dropping off a van and following a woman who was going to pick him up. When we got to the scene, he wasn’t sure what transpired, but we don’t know if that’s an impact of the head injury.”
Amato said the screen did not detect alcohol in Bain's blood, which was sent to the State Police crime laboratory for further evaluation. Authorities are currently trying to determine whether Bain had a medical condition, or if other factors played a role in the incident.
Amato said he would be working in concert with District Attorney James E. "Jed" Conboy to determine whether criminal charges should be filed, but at this time, Bain has not been charged.
GAVAC also responded to the scene.