Monday, August 21, 2006

2004 News Article, Drunk Driving Accident across from our Apartment


Marnie Eisenstadt Staff writer

A town of Onondaga man was charged with drunken driving Saturday after he drove his car off the road, over a sign, up a hill and through the living room of an Onondaga apartment occupied by people with physical and mental disabilities, authorities said.
"We couldn't get a speed because he never stepped on the brake," said Sgt. Tobias Shelley, of the Onondaga County Sheriff's Department. Two residents and their caretaker suffered minor injuries, as did the driver, Shelley said. Robert J. Gallagher, 52, was going west on McDonald Road in Onondaga when he drove off the road just before 11 a.m., Shelley said. Then he overcorrected and drove off the other side of the road, hitting a traffic sign, crossing a grassy area and driving through the fireplace of Apartment 486 at The Meadows at Westbrook, more than 300 feet from where he left the road. Shelley said Gallagher would not tell deputies where he was going, but was a little more than a mile from his home at 4331 November Lane.
The apartment Gallagher crashed into is rented by New York state for people with mental and physical disabilities. Two of the residents, Diane Leslie, 66, and Mora Green, 59, were treated at local hospitals, Shelley said. Patricia Adams, their caretaker, also had minor injuries.
Gallagher was treated at University Hospital for minor injuries, then turned over to deputies. In addition to the driving while intoxicated charge, he also was given a ticket accusing him of failing to keep right. Shelley said the Onondaga County District Attorney's Office will look into the case Monday.
Gray wooden siding and tufts of insulation littered the ground around the hole in the apartment wall. Only the rear of Gallagher's gold 2000 Chrysler 300 stuck out. Next to it a television sat, untouched, and a clock still kept time on the wall.
Kara Reese, who lives in the next building over, was sleeping when she heard the car slam through the wall.
After a stunned moment, "my second response was to throw my clothes on to see if someone needed help," she said.
She ran downstairs, across the green and into the apartment, where water was pouring out of the ceiling and broken glass was everywhere, she said. Reese first checked to see if any of the residents needed help.
Then she directed her attention to the car in the living room.
She jumped over the kitchen counter and looked into the car, but found no driver. Gallagher was outside the car, standing near the hole in the wall. Reese said he kept telling her he wanted to get back in the car because he needed to get his information from the glove compartment.

Illustration: PHOTODavid Lassman/Staff photographerONONDAGA COUNTY Sheriff's Department evidence technician Rob Krolltakes photographs of the scene Saturday morning. The rear of Robert J.Gallagher's car protrudes from the hole it made in the apartment inOnondaga. Color.David Lassman/Staff photographerTRACKS ON THE GRASS show the path of a car that struck this apartmentat The Meadows at Westbrook, off McDonald Road, in Onondaga. Deputiessaid Robert J. Gallagher, 52, of 4331 November Lane, Onondaga, was thedriver of the car. Scott Kelly, superintendent of the complex,examines the damage Saturday.MAP: 1. Car goes off road. 2. Car crashes into apartment. ThePost-Standard.