Albany Police officer dies after motorcycle crash in Knox

KNOX — An Independence Day motorcycle ride in the Hilltowns for a young and “highly regarded” Albany Police officer ended with a fatal crash.

Dean Johnson joined the Albany Police Department in October 2017 and graduated from the academy in May, according to Albany Police Chief Robert Sears.

“Officer Johnson was an exceptional man who was highly regarded by his peers and was already proving himself to be an incredible asset to the department,” Sears said in a statement released the  evening of July 4. “He was a man who excelled quickly, was always willing to learn and thrived on serving those in need.”

Events unfolded this way, according to Trooper Mark Cepiel, the public information officer for Troop G of the New York State Police: At 3:01 p.m. on July 4, Johnson was operating his 2011 Yamaha motorcycle, traveling north on Knox Cave Road in the town of Knox.

“He failed to negotiate a curve in the road and went into the southbound lane, directly in the path of a 2010 Cadillac,” said Ciepel. “The motorcycle continued drifting … The Cadillac’s front bumper collided with the motorcycle and the rider was thrown from the motorcycle.

“He was transported to Albany Medical Center by Guilderland paramedics and Helderberg EMS,” said Ciepel of Helderberg emergency medical services.  “At the hospital, he succumbed to a head injury.”

Asked if speed, alcohol, or drugs had played any part in the crash, Ciepel said, “It’s way too early for any of those things to be determined with finality.” He said that collision reconstruction and toxicology analysis take months.

The driver of the Cadillac was not injured, Ciepel said. The name of the Cadillac’s driver is not being released, he said.

“No charges have been filed and I’m confident they won’t be filed,” concluded Ciepel. “The operator of the motorcycle lost control.”

Police chief Sears, in his statement, concluded of Johnson, “He truly possessed the many great qualities that we as a police department and community expect of our police officers. The men and women of the department and members of the community he served mourn his loss. Officer Johnson will be missed by many, and our thoughts, prayers and deepest sympathies go out to his family, friends, and colleagues during this difficult time.”

More Hilltowns News