TROY, N.Y. — A former Rensselaer City Police officer was in court Friday to plead guilty to vehicular manslaughter.
Mark Fusco, 23, the son of the Rensselaer Police Chief, was accused of killing his passenger in a drunk driving crash in March of 2013. He pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter Friday.
Fusco was still an officer with the police force at the time but was not on duty when authorities said he crashed. Fusco was taken off the department's pay roll in January.
Fusco admitted to driving while intoxicated at the time. His BAC was more than .18 percent. His friend, 22-year-old Sean Murphy, died in the crash.
The vehicular manslaughter charge usually comes with a maximum 15-year sentence. Fusco will serve three to nine years. He also waived his right to appeal.
Fusco’s father, Chief Rick Fusco, gave a brief statement after the hearing.
“Since this accident happened our thoughts and prayers have been with the Murphy family, and our thoughts and prayers are going to continue to be with the Murphy family,” he said. “That’s all I have to say.”
Prosecutor and Assistant District Attorney Michael Shanley was angry a former police officer acted so recklessly.
“This is not an accident. This is recklessness,” he said. “This is somebody who’s aware of the risks that are posed by drinking and driving at a high speed. It is all the more shocking and disturbing to everybody that this is a police officer.”
Murphy’s mother, Coreen, spoke during court, and said Fusco should have known better.
“It was a death sentence,” she said. “He is dead.”
She wished she could bring her son back.
“On the morning of March 13, 2013, I was destroyed,” she said. “My heart shattered and sadly since that day I wish every morning when I open my eyes that somehow I could trade places with my son.”
Fusco attempted to apologize to the Murphy family.
“Mr. and Mrs. Murphy, I cannot even come to imagine your heartache,” he said. “And I am beyond sorry for causing your son to be taken away.”
Murphy’s father, Steve, said he thought Fusco’s apology was heartfelt but thinks closure may never come.
“I don’t know,” he said. “I don’t know. If it was a normal accident I would blame both of them, but Sean became a victim when Mark floored the gas pedal.”