Bicyclist struck and killed in N.Y. during chase

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ALBANY, N.Y. - A bicyclist was struck and killed by a drunk driver during a high-speed police chase which began early Saturday morning in Colonie, officials said.

An Albany County Sheriff's Department investigator observed a white 1997 Chevrolet pickup truck speeding eastbound on Central Avenue in Colonie at around 1 a.m. and pursued the vehicle.

Attempting to elude the investigator, the driver, Pablo Cruz, 39, of Helderberg Avenue in Schenectady, fled into Albany.

The chase continued onto Manning Boulevard, where Cruz struck and killed Paul J. Merges Jr., 45, of Albany, who was bicycling. Merges was pinned to the truck's ladder rack after he flew over the truck's hood, authorities reported.

Cruz continued into Colonie, then Niskayuna and Schenectady. Eventually, deputies said, the truck's engine blew out and the vehicle came to rest on Curry Road in Rotterdam.

Merges was pinned to the truck's rack throughout the chase. Cruz, who was released from state prison Nov. 2, was taken into custody and transported to Albany Medical Center. He was later charged with second-degree manslaughter and second-degree v ehicular manslaughter, felonies, as well as a parole violation for driving while intoxicated.

He was arraigned in Albany Police Court and remanded to Albany County Correctional Facility with no bail.

The investigation is ongoing.

The pursuit involved the Albany County and Schenectady County sheriff's departments and the Albany, Colonie, Guilderland, Niskayuna, Schenectady and Rotterdam police departments.

Merges leaves behind several local family members.


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