Friends, co-workers mourn NY woman killed in Sandisfield crash

Sierra Riccio, a veterinary assistant in Albany, N.Y., was killed early Saturday when she lost control of her car and struck a tree on Route 8 in Sandisfield. "She was my role model," said her sister, Cheyenne Riccio, in an email to The Eagle.

SANDISFIELD — An Albany woman who was killed in a crash on Route 8 early Saturday is being remembered as a kind, generous person with more heart to give than her family, friends, and the animals she looked after could ever ask of her.

Sierra Riccio, 25, was on her way to work as a veterinary assistant outside Albany from her fiance's home in Winsted, Conn., when she crashed, according to state police. Icy road conditions may have been a factor.

She was heading north on Route 8 in a 2006 Honda Civic about 7:30 a.m. Saturday when she lost control of the vehicle, drove into the southbound lane and then crashed into a utility pole and a rock, state Trooper Dustin Fitch said

Riccio, who was alone in the car and wearing a seatbelt, was transported to Charlotte Hungerford Hospital in Torrington, Conn., where she was pronounced dead.

In a statement emailed to The Eagle, her sister said Riccio was a "beautiful magnificent soul."

"She was the other half to my whole, my whole heart, my lifetime best friend!" Cheyenne Riccio said. "When I wasn’t feeling myself and she would walk through the door with those glowing blue eyes and precious smile, her laugh was too contagious and made every worry go away in the world! ... She was the most kind person there was not a single bad bone in her body!"

Keith Lauzier, Riccio's fiance, said it was love at first sight when he met Riccio at the drag race track in 2015 and they got engaged in 2017 right before Christmas.

"We were supposed to get engaged on Christmas, but I was just so excited to propose that I did it 10 days before," Lauzier, 31, said.

Lauzier said Riccio liked to draw and enjoyed taking walks in the woods. The couple had a dream to move West and open a business making jewelry from gems they discovered out "rock hounding." 

"She was amazing. She was so beautiful with a beautiful smile. I don't know how to begin to say what an incredible person she was," he said.

Co-workers at 4 Paws Veterinary Care in Wynantskill, N.Y., said they were heartbroken by the news of her death. Staffers declined to be interviewed, but pointed to a statement they made on social media.

“Sierra has always been a beautiful light at 4 Paws and had such a wonderful impact on everyone she met,” they wrote in a post on the business’s Facebook page. “Anyone that knew Sierra was changed for the better just by knowing her. She was loved beyond words and will be missed beyond measure.” 

The page contains an outpouring of support for Riccio’s family and friends and prayers for her peaceful rest. Friends, family and acquaintances remarked on Riccio’s warm smile and easy way she had with frightened animals and little children. 

“We loved seeing Sierra’s beautiful smile and how sweet and kind she was with our pups and our baby. She was one of the few people who could make our daughter smile as a young, shy baby,” wrote Amanda Hudson. “She touched our lives in such a positive way. We are so sad and are thinking and praying for everyone.”

The crash is under investigation by Troop B of the Massachusetts State Police with assistance from the state police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section, the Crime Scene Services Section, and the Detective Unit for Berkshire County.

Troopers are investigating whether ice on the roadway contributed to the crash. Results may not be known for several weeks, police said.

Kristin Palpini can be reached at, @kristinpalpini on Twitter, and 413-629-4621.

This story has been updated to add more information.