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Head-On Crash With Both Cars on Fire Leaves One Driver Dead in Slingerlands

This article is a direct street report from our correspondent and has not been edited by the 1st Responder newsroom.

One person is dead following a serious motor vehicle accident involving three vehicles that occurred on the Town of Bethlehem and City of Albany line. 

Numerous 911 calls started to come in to both the Town of Bethlehem and City of Albany dispatch centers for a motor vehicle accident with one car rolled over and a car on fire on State Route 85 just before 7 a.m. on Wednesday, May 1. 

Due to 911 calls coming in to both dispatch centers with the crash being on the town/city line, first responders from both the Town of Bethlehem and the City of Albany responded to the scene. 

Crews arrived to find one car on its roof and on fire, as well as another car that sustained heavy damage and was also on fire. 

“Upon our arrival on scene, Albany Fire was already there,” said Chief Craig Sleurs of the Slingerlands Fire Department. “Bystanders had removed both victims from the cars that were on fire.” 

Sleurs says Fire/EMS crews from Albany were tending to patients as well as putting the fire out on both cars. 

The driver of one vehicle was  28-year-old Matthew Monthie, from Clifton Park, and was transported to Albany Medical Center with non life-threatening injuries, according to a press release from the Bethlehem Police Department. 

The driver of the second vehicle involved was operated by 53-year-old Shawna Marzahl, from Selkirk, who was pronounced deceased at the scene and was turned over to the Albany County Coroner’s Office, according to police. 

The crash was investigated by the Bethlehem Police Department and the Albany County Crash Investigation Team. 

“The preliminary investigation into the crash has determined that Matthew Monthie’s vehicle was traveling westbound on Rt 85 when it crossed over the center lane marking, striking an eastbound vehicle that was being operated by Shawna Marzahl,” according to the press release from Bethlehem Police. 

Police said there was also a third vehicle involved, operated by 20-year-old Thomas Nastars, from Slingerlands. Nastars was not injured in the crash. 

“Due to the impact of the crash, the vehicle directly behind Shawna Marzahl’s vehicle sustained damage after being hit with debris from the initial crash,” police said. “The operator of that vehicle was Thomas Nastars, age 20 of Slingerlands.” 

Slingerlands Fire cleared the scene early on and turned the scene over to Albany Fire. 

The call was considered in the Slingerlands Fire District, so crews were dispatched back to the scene later in the evening to assist with road cleanup and cleaning up the fuel and other fluids from the roadway. 

Responding agencies included City of Albany Fire, Slingerlands Fire, North Bethlehem Fire, Westmere Fire, Delmar-Bethlehem EMS, Albany County Paramedics, Mohawk Ambulance, Bethlehem Police, Albany Police, New York State Police, Albany County Coroner. 

State Route 85 was closed in both directions from Blessing Road to the Krumkill Road exit in the City of Albany from 7:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m. 

Bethlehem Police say the investigation remains open as of their latest update. 


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THOMAS MARRA Correspondent

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