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Opening arguments presented in 2012 DWI crash trial

Updated: 07/15/2014 5:08 PM
Created: 07/15/2014 1:07 PM WNYT.com
By: Bill Lambdin

ALBANY - Pablo Cruz is accused of driving a large pick-up truck while drunk at one in the morning in late November 2012.

Police began a chase on Central Avenue in Colonie, following him at a high rate of speed into Albany

"The defendant was driving his 5500 pound pickup truck equipped with ladder rack at approximately 90 miles per hour," Prosecutor Mary Tanner-Richter told the jury.

Cruz's defense attorney, Michael Feit, questioned the estimated speed, denied Cruz was driving recklessly and suggested he had a reason for not pulling over.

"And you see an unmarked vehicle at one in the morning chasing you, that might make you drive fast," Feit said. "That might make you want to get away from that vehicle."

But as Cruz turned off Central Avenue onto North Main Avenue, then North Manning Boulevard, the failure to stop for police turned deadly.

Cruz struck 45 year old bicycle rider Paul Merges, Junior.  

"Paul Merges, Junior had his life senselessly and brutally crushed out of him by a 5500 pound missile," Tanner-Richter said.

Once he was stopped, two samples of Cruz's blood tested above the limit for intoxication.

The defense attorney told the jury Merges was drunk as well at point 18.

Cruz is accused of leading numerous police cars on a 20 minute chase from central Albany to Rotterdam, all the while with his unfortunate victim lodged on the outside of his truck.

Testimony is expected to extend into next week.

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