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August 29, 2013

Troopers: Drunken driver hit parked cars, auto dealership

By Denise Richardson The Daily Star
Cooperstown Crier

---- — A Virginia man was charged twice with drunken driving after state police investigated two crashes in Otsego County last week.

Harold L. Slover, 71, of Fairfax, Va., was arrested Monday, Aug. 19, for crashes involving two other vehicles in Milford and another incident involving parked vehicles at an auto dealership in the town of Otsego, state police at Sidney said.

No injuries were reported, officials said, but the crashes resulted in thousands of dollars in damages to vehicles at Smith-Cooperstown Inc., which is on state Route 28, about three miles south of Cooperstown. 

Slover is accused of driving a green Ford sport-utility vehicle into the rear-end of two vehicles while traveling on state Route 28 in the town of Milford at about 4 p.m. that Monday, Oneonta troopers said.

The other two drivers were checked but no injuries were reported, troopers said.  

One vehicle spun off the roadway, troopers said. Both vehicles were damaged, with one towed away and the other driven from the scene.

In connection with the those crashes, Slover was charged with driving while intoxicated, following too closely, driving left of pavement markings and leaving the scene of a property-damage accident, troopers said.

At about 4:20 p.m. Aug. 19, Slover allegedly drove his SUV into four parked vehicles at Smith-Cooperstown Inc. at 5069 State Route 28, troopers said. He was taken to Bassett Medical Center emergency room by ambulance and submitted to a blood test to determine his blood alcohol content, troopers said, and results are pending.

As a result of the crashes in the dealership lot, Richfield Springs troopers charged Slover with driving while intoxicated, fourth-degree criminal mischief and unsafe movement of a stopped motor vehicle, troopers said.

Two troopers investigated the accidents and arrested Slover at the hospital Monday.

On Tuesday, Aug. 20, Slover was processed at the Oneonta state police station and was released to the custody of his nephew, troopers said. He is to appear in court to answer respective charges in Otsego and Milford town courts on later dates.

Michael Simmons, general manager at Smith-Cooperstown, known locally as Smith Ford, said Slover was driving at a high rate of speed and passed within about 10 feet of him and two other people on the lot.

“He could easily have killed somebody,” Simmons said. Fortunately, he said, no one at the dealership was hurt.

But a 33-foot 1997 Airstream motor home was destroyed, a company pickup plow truck was damaged, and two rental vehicles — a 2006 E-350 15-passenger van and a 2010 Ford Flex Suburban, owned by Smith Rental LLC, were damaged, he said.

The 2000 Ford F-350 plow truck can be repaired, Simmons said, and the dealership is waiting to hear from an insurance adjuster about the total cost of damages.

“Everything happened so fast,” Simmons said.