Project Access nets 48 tickets

ALBANY COUNTY — On Black Friday, Guilderland Police issued five of the 48 tickets for parking in spaces meant for handicapped drivers.

The countywide initiative, dubbed “Project Access,” involved 13 police agencies.

The most tickets, 24, were issued by Albany Police, followed by Colonie Police at 13 and the Albany County Sheriff’s Office at six.

Altamont Police participated but issued no tickets.                         

The 48 tickets represent a total of $7,989 in fines to be paid.

Since the program began on Dec. 7, 1994, fifty-two enforcement details have been conducted, resulting in a total of 2,512 summonses being issued and a total of $301,679 in fines being levied.

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A recent traffic stop gone awry, resulting in the driver being subdued with a Taser gun, led us to ask Melanie Trimble, director of the Capital Region Chapter of the New York Civil Liberties Union, about a motorist’s rights when stopped by police.

After Summer Smith died last Jan. 9, her mother and her young son went through her box of special keepsakes. In the box was an edition of The Altamont Enterprise devoted to the aftermath of a 2000 crash on Hurst Road that killed two teens and wounded a third.  The kids had been hotboxing — driving while stoned.

Summer, then a 17-year-old Guilderland High School senior, was friends with a classmate who died in the crash. She raised money for a bronze angel statue to stand in Altamont’s village green. “The angel represents people who have lost people,” Summer told us then.

Her mother, Kristin Smith-Hoin, finds both irony and comfort in the keepsake. Summer died of a drug overdose. She was 31.

A petition has been started, on a closed Facebook page, to fire Albany County Sheriff’s Deputy Ph