Troy real estate developer killed in small plane crash
NEWS10 is on the scene of a small plane crash that killed one person on Van Vranken Road in Clifton Park. (Photo: NEWS10)
A single-engine plane crashed into a tree in the front yard of a home on Van Vranken Ave. Wednesday morning. (Photo: NEWS10)
Walter Uccellini (Photo: The United Group)
The City Station in Troy was a major project of Uccellini's company, the United Group. (Photo: NEWS10)
CLIFTON PARK, N.Y. - Officials say one person was killed and one critically injured when a small plane crashed off Van Vranken Road in Clifton Park Wednesday morning.
The passenger 67-year-old Walter Uccellini, of Albany, was killed, while the pilot 68-year-old Jim Quinn, of Westerlo, remains critically injured.
Police say the single-engine Beechcraft plane had taken off from Albany International Airport at 7:25 a.m. Wednesday when it experienced mechanical failures, crashing into a tree in someone's front yard near the corner of Van Vranken and Crescent Roads around 7:30 a.m.
Police say the two men were heading to Plattsburgh for business. They reported having engine problems less than four minutes into their flight.
State police say Uccellini and Quinn were the only two people on-board at the time of the crash. There were no reported injuries of anyone on the ground in the area at the time of the crash.
Uccellini, a graduate of RPI, was the founder and CEO of the United Group, a real estate development firm headquartered in Troy, according the company website. Quinn is listed on the website as the Vice Chairman for the United Group.
The company released the following statement Wednesday:
"Today is a truly stunning and sad day. We have lost our father, brother, husband, grandfather, uncle, friend, partner and leader. Walter Uccellini was a giant in the world, a truly inspirational figure that we will always love and remember with great fondness."
Rensselaer County lawmakers also say they mourn the loss of Uccellini who recently completed the City Station mixed-use project in downtown Troy with United Group, converting vacant property into attractive resident and commercial property.
Uccellini pledged to take on the City Station in Troy and has come to fruition since then. Wednesday, a ribbon cutting was held at the City Station for one new business in the area, Paeson Pizza. The upper floors were also developed for RPI student housing.
Rensselaer County Executive Kathleen Jimino says "Mr. Uccellini was a steadfast supporter of this region investing in and undertaking development projects that have helped revitalize neighborhoods and communities throughout the Capital Region and beyond."
Responding police and fire investigators remain on scene as the investigation continues.
Van Vranken Road is expected to remain closed until sometime Thursday. It will be open to local traffic only so residents who live on Van Vranken Road can access their properties.