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Man accused of driving the wrong way on 490 pleads not guilty | Crime

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Man accused of driving the wrong way on 490 pleads not guilty
Crime

News10NBC is learning more about the man accused of driving the wrong way on 490 and killing a Gates teen over the weekend.

Robert Rector is from Fairport. He pled not guilty to manslaughter charges Monday morning. He's also charged with DWI. News10NBC learned he's a sergeant in the New York National Guard, served a tour in Afghanistan last year and is now a graduate student at Nazareth College.

State Police say he killed 19-year-old Khadijah McKenzie when his pickup truck crashed into her car early Saturday morning near Ames Street. 

It was just before 3:00 a.m. Saturday morning and a witness says he was driving home from work, heading west on 490. That's when he saw the headlights coming straight at him. 

John Armosino, witness and called 911, said, “It was a little nerve racking. I moved. That was my first reaction and then I called 911.”

Armosino says it was in a stretch heading out of the city toward Gates where the highway goes up that he passed the truck going the wrong way. He says the truck was near the jersey wall in the middle. 

Armosino said, “I was wondering what was wrong with the person driving the vehicle?”

State police say the crash happened moments later at the Ames Street exit. Police say Rector's truck hit Khadijah McKenzie's SUV. McKenzie died at Strong Hospital. Her sisters talked with News10NBC's Chalonda Roberts over the weekend. 

Tabitha Lumley, McKenzie's sister, said, “It's the holidays, Christmas and Thanksgiving are very special to us and just knowing she is not here, her mother is in Jamaica she is not able to come to a service.”

Police charged Rector with DWI. In court Monday, he pled not guilty to all the charges. McKenzie's family walked out of court and declined to talk. So did Rector's family and his lawyer.

State Police are still trying to figure out where Rector got on 490 going the wrong way. Whatever exit ramp he took he would have seen “Do Not Enter” and “Wrong Way” signs at Mt. Read.

Lumley said, “Why do we have to suffer for somebody who could have been more responsible.”

Robert Rector's bail was set at $50,000 Monday morning. He has a hearing scheduled for Wednesday morning. 

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