Cohoes woman sentenced for Central Avenue drag-racing deaths

Cohoes woman sentenced for drag-racing deaths

Tears flowed in an Albany County courtroom, as a Cohoes woman was sentenced for causing the deaths of two men while drag-racing in Colonie.

ALBANY COUNTY COURT — Shajaine Foskey-Gause showed up late to her sentencing, appearing Wednesday afternoon before Judge Thomas Marcelle.

She pleaded guilty to manslaughter last year.

She was drag-racing on Central Avenue in 2020, driving more than 100 miles an hour when she crashed into another, uninvolved car.

Two men who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time lost their lives: Najee Parks and Naquain Key.

The negotiated plea was not a high enough price to pay for cutting short two wonderful lives, relatives said.

“Najee had a smile that lightened up the universe,” said his cousin, Shanieka Jean-Charles. “He was creative, optimistic, always thinking outside the box of ways to improve his next endeavor.”

“The punishment does not fit the crime,” said Carlton Parks, Najee’s uncle. “This woman took away my brother’s son, my nephew, my godson.”

Prosecutor Mary Tanner-Richter read a statement from Naquain’s grandmother.

“By her foolish actions, she killed two young men and left what was supposed to be a friend paralyzed. My grandson and Najee got death,” wrote Elder Georgia Key.

Relatives said Gause has shown no remorse.

Tanner-Richter said the parole board should take a good look at what she found striking in Gause’s letter to the victims’ families: in just nine sentences, Gause mentioned herself 19 times.

“But I think that in that nine-sentence ‘apology letter’ what struck me the most was a sentence that said this has traumatically affected me, my life, my friendships, and my family,” said the prosecutor.

Gauze did not speak at her sentencing.

“And you have to be accountable for the decisions you make,” said Judge Thomas Marcelle. “And you have to be accountable for the consequences of those decisions, and that account is due today.”

Gause was sentenced to two and a third-to-seven years in prison.