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Driver rams cop car twice; camp worker arrested for DWI


June 27, 2012

A 23-year-old man is accused of ramming a Sullivan County Sheriff’s Office patrol car twice before the deputy in the car could bring the driver under control.

According to the sheriff’s office, Deputy Joseph Gagliardo was on duty on June 23 when he clocked a pickup truck going 77 miles per hour (MPH) in the 40 MPH zone at about 2:45 a.m. on Route 17B in White Lake. Gagliardo activated his lights and siren, but the driver of the pickup truck ignored him and proceeded south on State Route 55.

Eventually, the deputy was able to pull in front of the vehicle, which was a Ford F150, and cause it to stop. But as Gagliardo was about to climb out of his patrol car, the pickup truck backed up several feet and then lurched forward, ramming the marked patrol car.

A press release from the sheriff’s office said that Gagliardo was “stunned,” but he put the car in park and was attempting to remove his seatbelt when the pickup backed up again and rammed into the patrol car a second time, pushing it down the roadway more than 100 feet before coming to a stop.

Gagliardo was eventually able to get out of his car and arrest the driver of the pickup truck, who was identified as Jeffrey Santiago-Pabón, 23, of Martinsburg, WV. The suspect, who was employed at a summer camp in Eldred, was charged with felony assault, felony criminal mischief, driving while intoxicated and several vehicle and traffic law violations.

Santiago-Pabón, who doesn’t speak English, initially claimed to be from Puerto Rico. But at arraignment before Judge Kevin Rhyne in the Town of Bethel, the suspect admitted through a translator that he is actually from Mexico.
Rhyne committed the suspect to the Sullivan County Jail without bail. Deputies have contacted Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) to determine Santiago-Pabón’s legal status in the U.S.
Gagliardo was taken to Catskill Regional Medical Center, where he was treated and released. Due to his injuries, he is expected to be out of work until further notice.