Saratoga County

Anti-DWI effort set for this weekend

Assistant Chief Bill Morgan of the Wilton Fire Department is finally back to work at his day job aft

Assistant Chief Bill Morgan of the Wilton Fire Department is finally back to work at his day job after being hit by an allegedly drunk driver last month when he was leaving his volunteer fire company.

Morgan, 53, suffered six broken ribs and a fractured ankle.

The woman whose car hit Morgan’s Jeep is still in rehabilitation for her more serious injuries.

Morgan and other firefighters, state police, and STOP-DWI coordinators from four counties used this incident and others like it on Friday as examples of how driving drunk can result in multiple problems.

The STOP-DWI initiative is being held because Super Bowl Sunday is starting to rival New Year’s Eve for numbers of parties and of people driving after drinking too much alcohol.

Fire companies in Schenectady, Saratoga, Rensselaer and Albany counties have posted a message on their outdoor signs: “Cab, Cop or Coffin: Your Choice. Don’t Drink and Drive.”

Morgan won’t be able to return to his assistant chief duties for six weeks or more. He said he won’t be able to actually fight a fire for another six months.

“It will take a while,” said Morgan. He has been able to return to his job as a chemical engineer at Espey Manufacturing in Saratoga Springs.

The Jeep he was driving out of the Ballard Road firehouse in Wilton was hit nearly head-on by a car operated by Shawna Bormann of Wilton at 11:29 p.m. Jan. 4.

Bormann, 53, was airlifted to Albany Medical Center Hospital with serious internal injuries. Police charged her with driving while intoxicated.

Morgan said Friday that she has been released from the hospital but is currently in a rehabilitation facility for her injuries.

Sgt. Lenny Crouch, Albany County’s DWI administrator, said most fire companies and fire departments have message boards outside their stations.

The messages are changed on a regular basis and are known to be read by many motorists driving by.

He said there are 90 fire stations in the four-county region that will be displaying the “Cab, Cop or Coffin” signs this weekend.

“We want you to get a ride,” Crouch said about the message on Super Bowl Sunday. “Make sure you are safe.”

“Super Bowl is historically a high, high volume alcohol time,” Crouch said.

He said there are home parties and many bars and restaurants feature Super Bowl drink specials.

Crouch, Morgan and others attended a news conference Friday at the Verdoy Firehouse on the Troy-Schenectady Road to kick off the weekend awareness program.

Crouch said drunk drivers are often a danger to first-responders from emergency squads and police departments.

Photos of the Schenectady STOP-DWI car recently hit by an allegedly drunk driver were shown and another accident that injured a Schenectady police officer was also discussed.

On Friday, Jan. 11, Schenectady police officer Darren Lawrence was driving his patrol car through the intersection of Union and Lafayette streets when it was hit by a car driven by a person who police said was drunk.

Police said the driver, Aaron W. Kopp, of Niskayuna, had a blood alcohol content of 0.19 percent, more than twice the legal definition of intoxicated.

Lawrence was treated at Ellis Hospital for minor injuries and released. Kopp was not injured.

He urged people planning to drink alcohol today or Sunday to make arrangements for a designated driver or plan to take a taxi to the party or bar.

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