Tuxedo Police charge Monsey truck driver with leaving the scene of personal injury MVA

| 22 Feb 2012 | 05:15

Tuxedo - William Vitale of Monsey, a 49-year-old driver for City Carting of Westchester, has been charged in connection with leaving the scene of an accident last month that forced a red Honda Civic off the road on Route 17 and left its driver seriously injured. The arrest came a little more than a month since the accident on Feb. 16, and involved the assistance of state transportation officials, forensic experts from the state police and what Tuxedo Police Chief Patrick Welsh described as “old-fashioned police work.” The accident happened just after 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 16, near Patterson Hill Road. Police said the driver of the Honda Civic, a 35-year-old woman from Warwick, was driving in the right-hand lane of northbound Route 17. A tractor trailer drifted into her car from the left-hand lane. Although the driver slowed in an attempt to avoid a collision, the tractor trailer forced the Civic into the guard rail, which activated the car’s air bags. Tuxedo firefighters extracted her from the vehicle; she was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital in Suffern, where she received 135 stitches to her head and face. The tractor trailer continued north on Route 17. At the time, police said it was possible the operator of the tractor was unaware of having hit the Honda. Welsh said officers were able to identify trailer from images taken from surveillance cameras mounted at the Tuxedo Train Station on Route 17. With that information, detectives worked with state transportation officials to identify the trailer’s carrier. Meanwhile, an off-duty rookie officer saw what looked like the vehicle on Route 287 and told detectives. This, in turn, led detectives to the maintenance shop where the trailer was undergoing repairs. Welsh said another driver was scheduled to use the same trailer that had been in the accident; however, he reported that the trailer had been damaged during a pre-trip inspection. The trailer was taken off the road for repairs. Enter state police forensic experts. Welsh said they were able to obtain what they believe is paint and glass from the red Civic that had been embedded in the trailer. Detectives interviewed Vitale; he turned himself in to Tuxedo Police on March 18. He was charged with leaving the scene of a personal injury motor vehicle accident, a felony, as well driving across a double line, unsafe lane change and failure to signal lane change, V&T infractions. He was released on his own recognizance and is due back in Tuxedo Town Court on March 31. The chief said the woman is recovering and that she and her husband welcomed the news of an arrest.