ALBANY — A midlevel appeals court essentially knocked 16 months to four years off the sentence of a Colonie man convicted of running over and killing a National Guard master sergeant in 2017.
In February, 2018 Albany County Judge Roger McDonough sentenced Brian Tromans to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison for leaving the scene of an accident and 1 1/3 to 4 years to for tampering with physical evidence. The judge ordered Tromans to serve the sentencers consecutively rather than concurrently.
The Appellate Division Third Department, in a unanimous decision issued Thursday, Nov. 21, threw out the conviction associated with the charge that Tromans tried to fix damage to the car caused after when he hit Master Sgt. Rudolph Seaborn on Jan. 8, 2017.
Tromans maintained he thought the hit a deer on Watervliet Shaker Road at around 4 a.m. after a night at Philly’s Bar and Grill. He actually hit Seaborn, who lives in Rome but was in the area for training. Seaborn was walking to where he was staying from the same bar.
The Appellate Division ruled that Tromans’ actions were in line with what he would have done if he did hit a deer, including ordering parts for his car and moving it to his parents’ house, where it was left outside in plain sight rather than in the garage. Also, the father and son kept the damaged pieces, in case clips or other parts could be salvaged, rather than trying to dispose of them.
“Defendant did not hide or throw away the box of broken parts, which would have destroyed or concealed them, but left them near the vehicle,” according to the decision. “When bringing the damaged vehicle to show it to the friend who could order new parts, defendant drove on busy public highways during daylight hours. Defendant did not put the vehicle inside the parents’ three-bay garage or cover it in any way.”
Prosecutors told the jury Tromans drove the vehicle to his parents’ rural home in an effort to hide it and opted to do the work himself to avoid leaving a paper trail.
“Yet an equally logical explanation for that move would be that defendant traveled to see the friend – who lived down the road from defendant’s parents – and received advice from the friend not to drive the vehicle in its current condition,” according to the decision. “If defendant accepted this advice, it would be logical that he would drive the short distance to his parents’ property, ask to borrow one of their vehicles and leave his vehicle there until it was repaired.”
The court also said that Tromans and his father enjoyed working on cars and often did so in the father’s garage, including once after Tromans’ sister hit a deer.
Before Tromans went to trial, McDonough threw out the most serious charge criminally negligent homicide.
The Appellate Division upheld the conviction of leaving the scene. Tromans, who turned 36 last month, is currently in the Washington Correctional Facility in Comstock. He will be eligible for parole in April, 2020.