Drunks and Death

(This is written just after returning from the funeral home visitation for Paul J. Merges, a cyclist brutally run down by a drunk at Central and Manning early Saturday, November 24.)

With installation of a ghost bike for Paul, we will have experienced a 50 percent mortality rate of cyclists due to drunks on the road.  In addition to Paul and according to my records, drunks killed the following:

  •  Jose Perez – August 3, 2006 (age 60; bicyclist killed by SUV on Quay St. near Broadway, Albany)
  • Joel Melnikoff – July 3, 2006 (age 49; bicyclist killed by car on Rt. 32, Bethlehem)
  • Robert F. Zayhowski – July 16, 2000 (age 43; bicyclist killed by SUV on Rt. 66, SandLake)

Some may also recall that the spouse of an ABC member was run down from behind and injured by drunks on Madison Ave. near Washington Park.

(The other ghost bikers were Nicholas Richichi – 2007, Diva De Loayza – 2007, Alan R. Fairbanks – 2006, and David Ryan – 2004.)

Some may also recall that the spouse of an ABC member was run down from behind and injured by drunks on Madison Ave. near Washington Park.

As this is written, the perp now sits in jail (on your check).  He tested out at twice the legal limit.  I urge each reader to monitor how this case progresses through the (re-elected) DA’s office and what punishment is handed down.  You might also consider those county and state legislators (that Albanians persist in re-electing) to see what they do to remove drunks from the road permanently.

As a closing note, the funeral parlor waiting line extended out of the viewing room, down the hall, up the stairs, down another hall, into the main hall to the front door and then wound around to the back door.  Paul’s father, mother, brothers, sister-in-law, children, nieces and nephews, and other relatives were in the reception line and viewing room.  Paul’s father expressed his gratitude to ABC and even had enough courage to state, “you people should be able to ride the streets in safety.”  See also the ABC Letter to the Editors.


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4 responses to “Drunks and Death

  1. Ghost Bike for Paul Merges – An array of memorial items – wreath flowers, candles, and a ghost bike – have appeared at the intersection of Washington Ave. and Manning Blvd. to commemorate the death on November 24 of Paul Merges. Paul, 45, was the father of two, Sean and Keara. His funeral was on November 28, 2012.

  2. Today’s (12/4/12) Times Union reported that the case of perpetrator in the death of Paul Merges was transferred to the Albany County Court. Pablo Cruz faces a maximum of 14 years if convicted of second-degree manslaughter and vehicular manslaughter. That is, he will serve 14 years if there is no plea bargaining, if attorneys like the “DWI Guy” are unsuccessful, and if he is not paroled early.

  3. Pingback: What’s the Rush? | Albany Bicycle Coalition

  4. Progress on Paul Merges’s case was reported in today’s Times Union. See – http://www.timesunion.com/default/article/Fatal-hit-and-run-chase-detailed-5458427.php.

    As we are approaching 1.5 years since this event, it is somewhat rewarding to see Cruz’s case moving forward.

    As point of clarification, there are no bicycle lanes near the crash. The City of Albany has one 0.8 miles of bicycle lanes, and these are on Clinton Ave. (from Lexington to Ten Broeck). There are shared lane markings on Washington Ave. but these are merely advisory and provide no separation for people on bicycles from people in cars.

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