Passenger dead after motorcycle crash, driver charged with DWI

— Photo from Instagram
Leanna Rose Prudhomme. On a page associated with Hudson Valley Community College, which she attended, she wrote she enjoyed motocross, photography, and horseback riding, with aspirations to attend the Albany College of Pharmacy.

WESTERLO — A motorcycle crashed into a roadside utility pole in Westerlo over Labor Day weekend, leaving its passenger dead; its driver has been charged with driving while intoxicated.

Alex Hamilton, 23, of Hannacroix, crashed his motorcycle on County Route 403 shortly after leaving a bar just before midnight on Sunday, police say. His passenger, Leanna Rose Prudhomme of Berne, also 23, was killed in the crash.

Prudhomme, graduated from Greenville High School in 2014, attended Hudson Valley Community College. She wrote in a Merit Pages profile that she enjoyed motocross, photography, and horseback riding, even working as a stable hand in Medusa. A dean’s list student at HVCC, she had written on the profile that she hoped to attend the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences.

Hamilton failed to negotiate a curve in the road, and ended up driving on slippery dewy grass on the side of the road before crashing into a utility pole, according to Albany County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy William Rice. He said police believe from evidence at the scene that speed and alcohol were factors. The speed limit is 45 miles per hour there, he said.

A police report states that the motorcycle was traveling eastbound on County Route 403, and both the rider and passenger were thrown off the motorcycle upon crashing.

Police found Prudhomme’s body lying in the road. She was pronounced dead at the scene, a police report says. Rice said that Hamilton, who was found lying next to the motorcycle, sustained serious internal injuries, and was brought to Albany Medical Center. Both were wearing helmets, he said.

Hamilton and Prudhomme had just left McNerney’s Brass Rail, located on North Road in Greenville, according to Rice. The bar is less than two miles away from the crash site at 477 Route 403. Rice declined to comment on whether over-serving charges against the bar are possible.

At the crash site, Rice said that numerous beer cans both full and empty were found on the ground, and a 12-pack of beer was found in the saddlebag of the motorcycle. The report states that Hamilton smelled of alcohol at the scene.

Blood that was taken at the hospital from Hamilton was brought to a laboratory Tuesday morning for testing, said Rice. While he declined to say whether it was taken with Hamilton’s consent or with a warrant, he said it was done legally.

Rice said that a car following the motorcycle flashed its high-beam lights to flag down a sheriff’s deputy on patrol Sunday night. The car, with four people, had left the Brass Rail and was following the motorcycle, but the witnesses in the car told police they only came upon the motorcycle and its passengers lying on the ground after the crash had occurred. Rice said they provided statements that further confirmed speed and alcohol were a factor in the crash.

Hamilton was charged with one count of driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor; as well as driving with unregistered swapped plates, driving without insurance, and driving without an inspection, all infractions, said Rice. Other charges may be made by the Albany County District Attorney’s office, he said, and investigations by the sheriff’s office and the district attorney’s office are still ongoing.

Should Hamilton not have further charges that are felonies, he is scheduled to appear in Westerlo Town Court in October, said Rice.

“It’s just sad,” he said. “A 23-year-old just lost her life from the incident.”

The investigation is ongoing and anyone with any information is asked by police to call the Sheriff’s Criminal Investigations Unit at 518-765-2351.

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