[Home Page] [This Week] [Classifieds] [Legals] [Obituaries] [Newsstands] [Subscriptions] [Advertising] [Deadlines] [About Us] [FAQ] [Archives] [Community Links] [Contact Us]

Special Section Archives The Altamont Enterprise, September 1, 2011

Woman drowns evacuating home

By Saranac Hale Spencer

NEW SCOTLAND — Floodwaters washed out bridges and roads, damaged houses, and claimed one life as Tropical Storm Irene blew through New Scotland on Sunday.

Sharon Stein, 68, was packing up a car with her husband, Geoffrey, just after noon on Sunday so that they could evacuate their creek-side home in Clarksville when the swelled Onesquethaw swept her downstream, said Maureen Tuffey, public information officer for Troop G of the New York State Police.

Mrs. Stein had gone back to their house to get something while he packed the car, Tuffey said, but Mrs. Stein didn’t return.  When her husband couldn’t find her, he called 911 for help.  Just after 4 p.m., passersby saw her body lodged against trees not far from her Slingerlands Avenue home.

An accomplished organist, Mrs. Stein left her impression on several area congregations.  (See related obituary.)

On Monday, Debris carried by the stream marked its course far beyond its bank, with still rapid water in the streambed.

Several roads have been closed as a result of flooding and water damage.  Wolf Hill Road sustained the most damage, according to Pat Geurtze, clerk of the town’s highway department.  Krumkill Road and Indian Ledge Road also had severe damage.  Other roads in town that had minor to medium damage were Countryman Road, Lower Flatrock Road, Derbyshire Road, Scutt Road, and Rock Hill Road.

At an emergency town board meeting held last night in Clarksville, R. Mark Dempf, of the town’s engineering company, Stantec, told the board that in the 10 hours of work on Krumkill Road that day, employees had moved the road 10 feet.  The board unanimously approved a motion to allow Stantec to assess moving the road.

Early on Monday morning, David Hobson, 35, drove through blocks meant to close the road before the bridge over the Normans Kill.  Asia Tierne, 32, was a passenger in the car, which sank into the swollen stream.  The pair was swept to a tree that Hobson held on to while holding Tierne with his legs, according to Mark DeFrancesco of the Albany County Sheriff’s Office.  They were there for about an hour before a neighbor heard their screams at around 6 a.m., and called 911.  The water was nine feet deep at the time and the North Bethlehem Fire Department handled the rescue, DeFrancesco said.

Later, the sheriff’s office arrested people in two separate instances after they drove past road barriers.  Deputies stopped Michael T. Jones, 22, of Voorheesville, at about 9:15 p.m. after he drove around barriers and road-closure signs on Route 443 in New Scotland, according to a release from the office.

Deputies then discovered that he had a female juvenile in the car who had been reported as missing from a group home in Schenectady.  After failing field sobriety tests, Jones was arrested for driving while intoxicated and a blood test showed that he had a blood-alcohol level above .08 percent and he was also charged with failure to obey a traffic device, endangering the welfare of a minor, and unlawful possession of marijuana.  The juvenile was returned to her group home, the release says.

Deputies also arrested Adam J. Mineau, 22, of Coeymans Hollow, after he went around road barriers and road closure signs on Route 32.  Officers found that his driver’s license had been suspended and that he had anabolic steroids, a controlled substance.  He was charged with third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, and failure to obey a traffic device.

Wolf Hill Road will likely be a dead-end street for “quite a period of time,” Highway Superintendent Darrell Duncan said at last night’s meeting, until the town has the resources to restore the bridge.

Also at the meeting, Supervisor Thomas Dolin announced that Robert Wright Disposal, which handles the town’s garbage, will provide Dumpsters for residents to throw away storm refuse, and the board unanimously approved a motion for the town to cover the cost of the tipping fee until Sept. 15.

Residents are encouraged to register with the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which will assess damages on a “case-by-case basis,” according to Don Caetano, of FEMA.  “Insurance is always going to be the first line of defense,” he said of how residents can recoup their losses.  After people register, they can find out if they will be eligible to be reimbursed by the federal government, he said.  People can call 1-800-621-3362 or go to www.disasterassistance.gov for more information and to register.

[Return to Home Page]