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Fatal crash outside diner in Watervliet under investigation

New York State Police are investigating a fatal crash that happened outside Bob's Diner in Watervliet Tuesday night.

The crash took place just after 11 p.m. on 19th Street. Watervliet Police Chief Mark Spain said the driver in the crash, 29-year-old Timothy Bynes, of Savannah, Georgia.

Lt. Bob Winn, with the Colonie Police Department, said the Bynes of the Hyundai drove past one of their sergeants on Troy-Schenectady Road near Sylvan Avenue going 75 mph in a 45 mph zone.

The sergeant then turned around and attempted to pull the driver over.

“However, the driver did not stop and increased to excessive speeds where he could not keep up, and it was too dangerous for him to continue to try and stop it,” Winn said. “So he stopped trying to pull the vehicle over. He radioed the plate and description to Watervliet PD, and he continued in a normal driving matter into the city of Watervliet where he shortly thereafter located the vehicle crashed at the intersection of 19th and 7th Avenue. Moments after the car crashed, it went up in flames.”

“Our sergeant tried to put the fire out with his extinguisher that he carries with him in his vehicle, as well as citizens from Watervliet,” Winn continued. “They even went so far as to uprooting some of the plants in a planter and throwing dirt to stop the fire to no avail.”

Police said it appears Bynes lost control of his car near 9th Avenue and struck at least one building and took out a light pole. The engine of the car was ripped out of the vehicle in the impact.

Debris from the crash flew 300 ft. and smashed a man’s windshield, the van’s owner said. The sergeant’s SUV was towed as part of the investigation.

Chief Spain said he was thankful no one else was hurt given the amount of foot and vehicle traffic in the area.

“We are very lucky; cold have been a lot worse,” he said.

A stretch of road near 7th Avenue and 19th Street was shut down for hours as the state police reconstruction unit worked through the night. Police removed the charred vehicle and the police SUV from the street around 5:30 a.m. Wednesday. 

Police say during the early stages of the investigation, the owner of the vehicle gave a name of a person who could have been operating it, but due to the condition of the body a visual identification could not be done.

Investigators were not able to locate any identification in the vehicle due to the fire.

DNA from the driver was tested by the New York State Police Lab to determine the identity. 

The cause of the crash is still under investigation.


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