Father sues over fatal 2011 crash

JOHNSTOWN – The father of a teen killed in a high-speed December 2011 crash has filed a lawsuit against several people, including the driver of the car his son was a passenger in.

Christopher Insogna of Caroga Lake filed the lawsuit Friday in state Supreme Court on behalf of his deceased 19-year-old son, Christopher Joseph Michael Insogna.

Insogna claims several defendants in the crash were engaged in a “speed contest” that resulted in his son’s death.

Represented by Latham attorney Peter J. Moschetti Jr., the elder Insogna filed the civil action against these defendants: Justin M. VanNostrand, of 186 Elmwood Ave., Gloversville, the driver of the car that crashed; Candy VanNostrand, of the same address; Corbett Goodwin, of 106 Grandoe Lane, Gloversville; and Travis Putnam and Tammy Hart, both of 57 Third Ave., Gloversville.

The lawsuit alleges accident “negligence” on behalf of the defendants, but doesn’t request the court award a specific amount of damages.

Authorities previously said VanNostrand was driving about 100 mph prior to the crash.

The lawsuit says father Christopher Insogna, as administrator of his son’s estate, was “damaged in a substantial amount.”

“The plaintiff’s decedent sustained certain catastrophic personal injuries, intense and excruciating conscious pain” in the accident, the lawsuit says.

Moschetti couldn’t be reached for comment for this story.

Justin M. VanNostrand was 20 years old and the driver in the fatal accident on Dec. 4, 2011, at the intersection of Route 29 and Steele Avenue Extension in the town of Johnstown.

The crash killed Insogna and badly injured his then-17-year-old sister, Kelsey R. Insogna, who was riding in the back seat. She survived but is wheelchairbound.

Fulton County Sheriff Thomas Lorey previously said VanNostrand was driving a 2004 Ford Mustang at a high rate of speed southbound on Steele Avenue Extension at 7:45 p.m. VanNostrand failed to stop at the stop sign at Route 29, crossed the highway and slammed into the embankment in front of 2151 Route 29, Lorey said. The car then smashed into a parked truck, flipped over it and came to rest on its front bumper between the truck and a house, the sheriff said.

The lawsuit states Justin VanNostrand was operating a car with the permission of Candy VanNostrand. Goodwin was operating a 2007 Honda, while Putnam was operating a 2003 Ford owned by Hart.

The lawsuit says that in addition to VanNostrand being southbound, Goodwin and Putnam were southbound in their vehicles. Court papers allege all three drivers “were engaged in a speed contest” in violation of state vehicle and traffic laws.

Insogna was trapped in the car and pronounced dead by Fulton County Coroner Margaret Luck. Kelsey, who was thrown from the vehicle, and VanNostrand were airlifted to Albany Medical Center Hospital.

In addition to the manslaughter and reckless endangerment charges, a grand jury indictment unsealed March 8, 2012, also charged VanNostrand with assault and reckless driving. The indictment said VanNostrand “caused the death of” Insogna by driving “in a reckless manner.”

The indictment also said VanNostrand “did recklessly cause serious physical injury” to Kelsey Insogna by operating the Mustang as a “deadly weapon or dangerous instrument.”

Justin VanNostrand was sentenced Sept. 17 in Fulton County Court to 2 1/3 to seven years in state prison because of the accident. Sentencing was based on his June 13 guilty plea to second-degree manslaughter and third-degree reckless endangerment, both felonies.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at [email protected].

By -