Woman killed as car careens into Rville hamlet

RENSSELAERVILLE — Lorriane Ferris, 83, was killed when her car went through a T-intersection stop sign, struck a small apple tree, and was stopped by a guy-wire on July 25, according to the Rensselaerville Fire Department.

“It’s our opinion and our opinion only, after talking to the funeral director, that the victim had a heart attack,” said Robert Tanner, chief of the Rensselaerville Fire Department, the first emergency responders to the scene. He said the funeral director had read the autopsy report.

Ferris, of 358 Shaker Run in Colonie, worked part-time and was active in community affairs after retiring in 1989 as an assistant vice president of Key Bank. (Read her obituary.)

The speed limit on Route 85 is reduced from 55 to 30 miles per hour as it nears the hamlet of Rensselaerville at the T-intersection.

There were no skid marks on the road, First Sergeant Arrel Moncur of the Albany County Sheriff’s Office said Monday, and nearby residents heard a loud noise, but none witnessed the accident, reported around 8:30 p.m.

“She was an elderly woman, she could fall asleep, she could have health problems,” said Moncur of possible reasons for the crash, adding that he couldn’t be sure and answers would come through an autopsy. The coroner’s office declined to say when the autopsy would be final.

Tanner said, after an investigation, he believes Ferris’s car tore down the apple tree, went over a stone retaining wall, and hit another tree before being stopped and suspended, vertically, on the edge of the ravine by the guy-wire, which was supporting a telephone pole. He said the car was hooked with a wench at first to prevent it from falling over the bank.

Ferris was pronounced dead at the scene. Her car was badly damaged on its front and driver’s side, Moncur said, and hung more than 15 feet from the bottom of a steep embankment near Tenmile Creek.

Rensselaerville, Tri-Village, Medusa, and Westerlo fire departments responded to the scene, as well as the Westerlo Ambulance, Albany County Paramedics, and a Med Flight helicopter.

More Hilltowns News

The public response has been mixed in the wake of Berne's purchase of 358 acres of land, with the hope to generate revenue and jobs from it as a destination. Despite some backlash and petitions, the town's supervisor has touted the decision as one most residents are excited about.

After a townwide letter was mailed to residents and an informational meeting held, the Knox fire commissioners are opening the polls for a second time, seeking permission to sell a tanker truck.

Democrats, who outnumber Republicans in Berne nearly 3 to 1, will need to surmount 17 votes held by the Republican Randy Bashwinger as absentee ballots are counted for the election of a new highway superintendent.