Crash claims Johnstown attorney

LITTLE FALLS – A local attorney was killed and his Johnstown city councilwoman wife injured in a crash Sunday in this Herkimer County city, state police reported.

Oneida-based Trooper Jack L. Keller today said Gloversville attorney Russell P. Martin, 57, of 9 E. Montgomery St., Johnstown, was killed from injuries in the crash.

A state police news release indicated troopers in Herkimer investigated the crash at 5:10 p.m. on Route 5 on the eastern side of Little Falls.

Keller said an initial investigation showed another vehicle – operated by Francis Kiniry, 83, of Long Meadow Drive, Syracuse – was westbound on Route 5 in Little Falls when it crossed the center line and drove into the path of Martin’s eastbound vehicle, striking it head-on.

Martin was transported from the crash scene to Little Falls Hospital, where he died, state police said.

Keller said Martin’s wife – 63-year-old Johnstown 3rd Ward Councilwoman Helen Martin – was also injured and initially taken to Little Falls Hospital.

Martin family friend and Johnstown City Clerk Cathy VanAlstyne said the Martin’s long-haired dachshund, Rudy, was also in the car and was killed.

Keller said Kiniry and a passenger in Kiniry’s vehicle – Kathleen Kiniry, 87, of the same Syracuse address – were injured.

The news release said the Kinirys were transported to Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown, where they were being treated for serious injuries Sunday. The investigation is ongoing and more information will be available at a later time, the news release said.

Keller said it was “too early” in the investigation to determine if Francis Kiniry will be ticketed.

VanAlstyne, who visited Mrs. Martin Sunday night at the hospital, said today, “I wish a full recovery for Helen. My heart aches for her.”

She said Mrs. Martin’s 91-year-old mother, Barbara, was scheduled to come to New York state from Alabama to visit her daughter.

Family friend Sandy Maceyka said Helen Martin suffered broken ribs and has a lung complication and was trans-

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ferred Sunday night from Little Falls Hospital, where she was initially taken, to Bassett Hospital in Cooperstown.

“This whole thing has shaken me up,” said Maceyka, who has worked with Mrs. Martin on the Elizabeth Cady Stanton Women’s Consortium.

Johnstown Mayor Michael Julius said today he was notified about the accident Sunday night.

“Pray for the family,” he said. “This is a horrible thing to happen to them.”

VanAlstyne said the Martins have an antique business, Flying Pigs Antiques. She said they were in Little Falls on Sunday as a vendor at the Little Falls Antique Center on West Mill Street and were on their way home to Johnstown at the time of the crash.

Russell Martin was a former Republican candidate for Fulton County Family Court judge. He was a former Greater Johnstown School District Board of Education member, former Fulton County Youth Bureau Board member, and had previously served as a Fulton County assistant public defender. He was a former chairman of the Johnstown City Republican Committee.

Martin, who had 29 years of law experience, mainly specialized in divorce and family law. He held a law degree from Stetson University and was admitted to the New York state bar in 1985.

Helen Martin ran unsuccessfully last year as a Republican candidate for mayor.

She is the chairman of the city’s Committee for Promoting Tourism.

According to her biographical information, the Martins have lived in Johnstown since 1990.

Michael Anich covers Johnstown and Fulton County news. He can be reached at