Driver in deadly Johnstown crash appears in courtroom
JOHNSTOWN Nearly five months after a high-speed crash that killed one passenger and injured another, the driver appeared Thursday in Fulton County Court.
Friends and family of both the driver, Justin VanNostrand, 20, of Gloversville, and victims Christopher Insogna, 19, who was killed, and his sister, Kelsey, 17, who suffered a spinal injury, gathered in the Fulton County courtroom to watch the proceedings.
VanNostrand is facing vehicular manslaughter charges, along with assault, reckless endangerment and reckless driving. He could face as much as 15 years in prison if convicted.
According to investigators and witness statements, VanNostrand was racing Dec. 4, 2011, on Route 29 in Johnstown at 80 mph, 25 mph over the speed limit, when he lost control of the vehicle and crashed into a house and a parked truck.
The purpose of Thursday’s session was to set the motion schedule for the case to progress.
According to Assistant District Attorney Chad Brown, the defense has until May 10 to submit an omnibus motion, a bundle of multiple requests of the court, to which the DA’s office will respond by May 24. The next hearing will take place June 13.
Neither the defense nor the DA’s office had anything new to add to the record.
The proceedings are far from over, Brown said. With motions and hearings, it could be months before the prosecution is finished.
The Insogna family remains involved as the case progresses.
“It’s been hard watching my brother sit in Albany Medical Center for a month with his daughter,” said Mitchell Insogna, uncle of Christopher and Kelsey, “but physical therapy is going well for her. If she wasn’t in a wheelchair, you wouldn’t know she’d been in an accident.”
VanNostrand, meanwhile, seemed nervous Thursday in court but showed no obvious lingering physical effects of the accident.
Insogna said he is patiently watching the case progress and hopes to see justice meted out.
“I hope no other family has to go through what we went through,” he said. “This can’t be swept under the carpet. An example needs to be made, that you’re responsible for your actions.”