ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Nearly three years after crashing into multiple cars with the SUV he was driving and ultimately running into the side of a house off of Central Avenue, Donald Bender was found guilty of reckless endangerment in the first degree on May 27.
Bender, 54, Schenectady was found to be responsible for speeding on Central Avenue and rear-ending a vehicle being towed, before witnesses say he jerked the SUV dislodging it from the towed vehicle on June 27, 2018.
According to an eyewitness account, after dislodging the SUV, Bender sped down Central Avenue swerving through traffic before rear-ending a mini-van. The witness said Bender “smashed into” the mini-van “trying to move it out of the way.”
About 50 feet from the accident with the mini-van, Bender began blaring his car horn at a Nissan Altima while driving erratically. The Nissan rolled over into a fire hydrant after being rear-ended by Bender at which point he lost control of the SUV.
He crashed into a house off of Central Avenue at approximately 57 miles per hour hitting it so forcefully that the engine went into the home.
NEWS10’s Anya Tucker reported on the accident and spoke with the family renting the home. They had only been there for three months.
“It hit under my daughter’s window but did not get into her room,” Nicholas Congemi told NEWS10.
Town of Colonie Deputy Chief of Police, Robert Winn, then a lieutenant, also told NEWS10 that Bender became combative when officers and residents 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,” Winn said.
The officer was treated and released.
Bender will be sentenced on July 27, 2021 and could spend up to seven years in State Prison.