Settlement reached in ex-trooper’s case

BALLSTON SPA -?A former state trooper who allegedly ran over a Providence man in Broadalbin was ordered by a state Supreme Court judge to pay $75,000 to the family of the victim.

Lisa M. Chamberlain and Megen L. VanNostrand, the co-administrators of Chad E. Finch’s estate and the mothers of his two children, filed the lawsuit against Brian T. Beardsley in state Supreme Court in Saratoga County last year.

In March, state Supreme Court Judge Stephen A. Ferradino ordered Beardsley to pay $50,000 to the estate of Finch, who the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department said died after Beardsley struck the man with his pickup truck on County Highway 110 on May 22, 2011.

The order also further demanded an additional $25,000 for the underinsured provisions under a policy held by Brenda Finch. The money was to be paid by insurance companies.

The order said more than $29,000 would go to the firm of Martin, Harding & Mazzotti, LLP, who represented Chamberlain and VanNostrand, more than $2,000 to the Jeffords & Stewart Funeral Home, and $240 to Brenda Finch, who had paid money toward funeral expenses.

The remaining $43,000 was to remain in an estate account to be allocated in accordance with the determination of the Surrogate Court.

Beardsley, 35, an eight-year trooper who was based in Mayfield, was off-duty around 2:30 a.m. May 22, 2011, when his Nissan pickup truck struck Finch, 32, the Fulton County Sheriff’s Department reported.

According to a transcript of a January 2012 hearing, Beardsley said he was driving with Erin Roy, his girlfriend. Beardsley said the road was foggy.

“There were pretty good banks of fog around the lake,” Beardsley said in the transcript.

Beardsley said he was going below 45 mph but could not remember if he had his high-beam lights on. Beardsley said he was driving home from a friend’s house at the time. He then saw a shoe and what appeared to be a leg in the road, he said. Driving on and then pulling over on the side of the road, Beardsley said he believed a body had been struck by a car. He went back to the scene and found Finch, he said.

“Mr. Finch was deceased and appeared to have been that way for quite a while,” Beardsley said in the transcript.

Roy called 911 to report the body and Beardsley drove away from the scene, police said.

Police said they traced the 911 call to Roy’s phone and later interviewed the pair.

Beardsley was charged the next day with leaving the scene of a fatal accident, a felony, but the case was dismissed in September 2011 after a grand jury chose not to indict him.

Beardsley resigned as a state trooper.

The lawsuit claimed Beardsley came into violent contact with Finch, causing his death.

The lawsuit stated, “Beardsley so carelessly and negligently managed, operated and controlled said Nissan pickup truck that the same was caused to come into violent contact with … Finch, a pedestrian.”

In the transcript of the Jan. 12, 2012, hearing before Administrative Law Judge William Myers, Beardsley said he drank three or four beers at a friend’s house about an hour before the accident.

Describing the accident, he said at the hearing, “I?noticed the shoe initially and then what appeared to be a leg in the roadway. I passed over.”

Attorney Robert S. Bruschini, representing the plaintiffs, said the Surrogate Court will decide how the money is divided.

Canajoharie Police Chief Bryan MacFadden said Beardsley now serves as a part-time officer for the Canajoharie department.

MacFadden said he was aware of the lawsuit but would not discuss it in a phone interview Thursday.

Neither Beardsley nor the plaintiffs could be reached for comment this week.

Finch is survived by two children, one born in 2001 and another in 2004.

Lisa M. Chamberlain is the mother of the child born in 2001.

Megen L. VanNostrand is the mother of the child born in 2004.