WESTERLO — A Greene County man faces a drunk driving charge after his motorcycle struck a telephone pole in Westerlo, resulting in the death of a Berne woman last Sunday, according to the Albany County Sheriff’s Office.
Alex Hamilton, 23, of Hannacroix, was charged with driving while intoxicated, an unclassified misdemeanor, having no insurance, operating without a license, having unregistered motorcycle switch plates and driving an uninspected vehicle, all violations, and crossing over road-hazard markings, a moving violation, Albany County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy William Rice said Tuesday.
Hamilton and his passenger, Leanna Rose Prudhomme, 23, were traveling east on Route 403 in Westerlo, having left the Brass Rail, a bar in Greenville, last Sunday around 11:50 p.m., when Hamilton veered off the road and struck a telephone pole, ejecting both from the motorcycle and shearing the motorcycle frame in half, Rice said.
Hamilton and Prudhomme were both wearing helmets, Rice said. “It was a major impact on that pole — it split the bike in half,” Rice said. “The victim unfortunately took the brunt of that force.”
Prudhomme, who was found lying in the road, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Albany County Sheriff’s Office. Hamilton, who was found lying next to the motorcycle, sustained internal injuries and was taken to Albany Medical Center.
A strong odor of alcohol was detected on Hamilton and numerous beer cans were found inside the saddlebags of his motorcycle, according to the sheriff’s office.
An autopsy was performed last Monday on Prudhomme at Albany Medical Center. The preliminary cause of death was given as exposure to blunt-force trauma, Rice said.
“They’re too young,” Rice said. “Your life just started.”
Hamilton was listed in serious but stable condition as of last Tuesday, Rice said.
“He’s still in the hospital,” Rice said. “The hospital is advising us of his status, but not his treatment.”
A sample of Hamilton’s blood was taken at the scene. The sample was delivered to the state police lab in Albany to determine how much alcohol was in his system, Rice said.
Additional charges could be filed against Hamilton if his blood-alcohol content is over .08 percent, which is the legal limit, Rice said.
Hamilton is not thought to have had any prior DWI convictions, Rice said.
“He was placed in custody on the night of the incident,” Rice said. “The most severe charge would be vehicular homicide.”
Four friends followed Hamilton and Prudhomme from the bar and they remained at the scene following the accident, Rice said.
“We secured statements from them,” he said.
The investigation is ongoing and further criminal charges against Hamilton are pending, according to the sheriff’s office. Anyone with information about the accident is encouraged to call the Albany County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Investigations Unit at 518-765-2351.