Police respond to car crashes on Central Avenue

Colonie Crash_1530115666859

For a short time today a portion of eastbound Central Avenue in Colonie was a lot like a bumper car arena!

That’s after Police say the driver, 51-year-old Donald Bender, struck several vehicles before smashing his own SUV into a house.

It was obvious to drivers along Central Ave that something was up and also upside down.

“Oh my God!”

Tiana Thomas was one of many in Colonie who got a front seat to the action Wednesday morning.

A rolled over car outside a Days Inn and less than 100 yards away, an SUV smashed into a house at the corner of Central and Breeman.

“It hit under my daughter’s window but did not get into her room.”

Nicholas Congemi lives in the rental home and says he heard the crash and then his daughter ran to his room.

“My daughter ran into my room and said, ‘Car hit house.’”

They were ok, their home, not so much.

Colonie Police say the driver of the SUV had struck a car carrier and a minivan before hitting the car that rolled over on top of a fire hydrant.

Police say based on all the damage, it’s amazing that the injuries involved in this incident were minor, including to the Bender’s.

Lt. Winn says after the crash the driver exited his SUV clutching a bible saying he was trying to preach.

Bender quickly became combative when citizens and officers tried to keep him from leaving the scene.

“He actually struck some witnesses who were trying to detain him after the accident. The officer was trying to place him into custody for her and his safety and, at that time, he grabbed her by the arm causing some injury.”

Bender was later charged with first-degree operating a motor vehicle under the influence of drugs. He is due in court on Monday.

Back at Nicholas Congemi’s place, the house that he and his family moved into just three months ago is unlivable for now. He and his daughter seem to be taking it all in stride.

“She’s very upbeat. She actually just wants to leave and get her some ice cream. We are going to have to get her some ice cream because she’s been through a lot.”

The officer was treated and released.

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