Police: Teen driver fell asleep before deadly crash

Posted at: 11/08/2013 5:59 PM
By: Dan Bazile

NEW BALTIMORE -- Broken car parts, a license plate and a hubcap were scattered on the side of Route 9W in New Baltimore, just south of the Coxsackie exit ramp of the Thruway. That was the scene of a deadly head-on collision on Thursday afternoon. Kevin Sheridan, 53, of Clifton Park, was pronounced dead at the scene.

"At this point it's still an active investigation," said Greene County Sheriff Lieutenant Karl Gonzalez.

But so far, investigators say preliminary evidence shows a 17 year-old driver, heading south on Route 9W, caused the accident.

"His vehicle veered to the left and struck a 53 year Kevin Sheridan," Gonzalez said.

Greene County Sheriff Gregory Seeley said the teenager had given blood earlier that day and was coming from school with a 13 year-old passenger. Seeley said texting or alcohol don't seem to be factors. But he said it looks like the teen driver fell asleep.

"If you are sleep deprived, if you've been up for 18 hours, that's roughly equivalent to .08 blood alcohol level," said Dr. Julius Cheng from Strong Memorial Hospital at the University of Rochester Medical Center.

Dr. Cheng was in the Capital Region for a teen driving safety meeting with other advocates from across the state. The group along with the Teen Safe Driving Coalition New York are trying to come up with ways to prevent similar crashes. Dr. Cheng said while novice teen drivers deal with a lot of distractions like smart phones, sleep depravation is actually another big concern.

"Where you have kids going to soccer, debate club, they don't have time to actually be kids," Dr. Cheng said.

It's not clear whether charges will be filed against the 17 year-old driver. His name was not released. Sheridan was a lieutenant corrections officer in Coxsackie. He was 16 months away from retirement.