Chatham man injured in Exit 24 crash

A Chatham man was injured, and a woman was killed, in an accident  Thursday on the Thruway in Albany. Contributed photo

ALBANY — A Columbia County man was injured Thursday morning in a head-on crash on the New York State Thruway between Exit 24 and Exit 25 that killed an Albany County woman, said Tara L. McCormick, public information officer for state police Troop T on Friday.

Albert (Skip) P. Kastner, 50, of Chatham, who was a passenger in a tractor-trailer, was taken to Albany Medical Center with non-life-threatening injuries, McCormick said.

A Latham woman was killed in the crash between the tractor-trailer and a sport utility vehicle, according to state police.

Bernice A. Rostocki, 58, suffered fatal injuries in the crash and was pronounced dead at the scene by the Albany County Coroner’s Office, McCormick said.

The driver of the tractor-trailer, Jesula Estivente, 28, of Uniondale, was taken to Albany Medical Center where she was evaluated by a drug recognition expert and later released, McCormick said.

At about 10:12 a.m., a 2021 Freightliner owned by Werner Enterprises was traveling east in an area near Exit 24 at mile marker 149.8, when Estivente attempted to change lanes. As the truck moved from the center lane to the left lane, it crossed the rumble strips and Estivente overcorrected, causing the vehicle to lose control, according to state police.

The tractor-trailer crashed through the median and center guardrail and entered the westbound lanes where it struck a 2019 Toyota Rav4 driven by Rostocki, head on, according to state police. The truck came to rest after it jackknifed and hit an embankment on the north shoulder.

An autopsy on Rostocki is scheduled to take place at Ellis Hospital in Schenectady.

The westbound lanes of the Thruway were shut down for approximately five hours, while fire and rescue crews worked, and for the accident investigation, McCormick said.

All westbound traffic was diverted off the Thruway at Exit 24, and the eastbound left lane was closed until the accident reconstruction was completed.

The detours created huge traffic backups for hours on roads throughout Colonie, as drivers attempted to find alternate routes.

All lanes were reopened by 3:30 p.m.

State police were assisted on the scene by the Troop G Collision Reconstruction Unit, Troop T Bureau of Criminal Investigation, and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Unit, Troop G BCI and Victim Advocate, Albany Fire Department and Rescue, as well as Thruway Traffic Safety and Maintenance, McCormick said.

The accident investigation remains ongoing, according to state police.

Werner Enterprises, Inc. was founded in 1956 and is a premier transportation and logistics company, with coverage throughout North America. Werner maintains its corporate headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska and maintains offices at numerous locations in the United States, according to the company’s website.

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