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January 5, 2013 - 5:24am

Car crashes into house on South Main Street in the city, driver flees

posted by Billie Owens in city, accidents.

A car has crashed into a house at 26 S. Main St. in the City of Batavia. The driver has fled, according to a witness on scene. Police officers and the fire department are on scene. There is a natural gas leak at the damaged house and National Fuel is being notified. The location is in the area of the roundabout.

UPDATE 5:27 a.m.: The natural gas meter has been destroyed and National Fuel is notified to expedite a crew to the location.

UPDATE 5:33 a.m.: A bottle of an alcoholic beverage was found outside of a house on the South Pearl Street Extension. Police now have the vehicle's driver and are taking the person to police headquarters for "field testing," (sobriety check) according to an officer at the scene.

UPDATE 5:41 a.m.: National Grid has a 15-minute ETA.

UPDATE 5:44 a.m.: The Department of Public Works is being notified that a light post was knocked down and there are exposed electrical wires at its base.

UPDATE 5:55 a.m.: According to eyewitness(es), the car came into the roundabout at a high rate of speed, maybe 60 miles an hour. It struck a snow bank and a light pole, sending it airborne in a southeasterly direction whereupon it crashed into the house at 26 S. Main St. The car was dragging the light pole behind it -- one of the newer black ones. A neighbor said the noise was so loud "it sounded like Santa landed on the roof."

UPDATE 5:58 a.m.: National Fuel reps are on scene. A city code enforcement officer is called in.

UPDATE 6:11 a.m.: National Grid is called in. No ETA given. The bottle of alcohol which was recovered by the house on the South Pearl Street Extension was allegedly thrown from the vehicle by the driver, according to a witness. The driver is now in custody and is being charged with driving while intoxicated and faces numerous other charges, a police officer said.

UPDATE 6:21 a.m.: No injuries are reported. The occupants of the damaged house and their neighbors have been evacuated.

UPDATE 7:33 a.m.: City fire back in service.

UPDATE 8 a.m. (by Howard): The driver is identified as 22-year-old Cory D. Goff, of 457 Mt. Read Blvd., Rochester. Goff was arraigned in Batavia City Court this morning but the full list of charges against him has not yet been released. 

According to Officer Darryle Streeter, Goff was allegedly driving his vehicle eastbound on Route 33/Pearl Street when he entered the roundabout at a high rate of speed. His vehicle struck a curb, went airborne, hit a lamp post, several signs and plowed through a snowbank. It then slid on its side across South Main Street, uprighted itself, hit another snow bank, sending it airborne again before it struck the house at 26 South Main.

Witnesses allegedly saw Goff exit the vehicle and run across the street and dispose of a bottle. The bottle was recovered by police. Goff then reportedly went back to the house and notified the residents that there was a gas leak. Goff was still on scene when police arrived. He was taken to Batavia PD headquarters for questioning and a field sobriety test and subsequently arrested on a DWI charge and other charges.

Rob Ogeen, a neighbor and one of the witnesses, said the crash was so loud it sounded like "Santa landing on the roof."

Nobody was injured in the accident. An upstairs resident of 26 S. Main slept through the entire event and only came out after being awoken by the landlord.

The location is next door to a vacant lot that contained a house until March 2010, when another driver came through the roundabout at a high rate of speed, lost control and knocked the house off its foundation. In this accident, the residence does not appear to be as seriously damaged.

UPDATE: Goff was charged with DWI, refusal to take a breath test, speed not reasonable and prudent, unreasonable speed/special hazards (roundabout), reckless driving, and two counts of failure to keep right.

Rich Richmond
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It seems we have a rash of leaving the scene since Dr. James Corasanti murdered killed that young girl with his car while drunk and got off with a light sentence. Thank God nobody was hurt.

Howard B. Owens
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It turns out the driver didn't leave the scene. That's what a dispatcher was initially told, but the driver was still there when police arrived.

Dave Olsen
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Yikes!!!!!!

Kyle Couchman
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Boy them there roundabout can be tricky, and then with the conditions and all he's lucky he didnt end up unconcious right next to the resident that slept through it all. At least he was nice enough to go in and tell all the residents bout the nautral gas leak. My surprise is that National Fuel had to be called twice and have their crew expidited. Seems to me a car crashing into a gas meter would be a high priority especially in a residential setting... after all the get a pretty primo penny for the services they provide.

Kyle Couchman
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Dave it's morning.....your supposed to say brains.... then have a cup of coffee then make comments. Mrs. Olsen get the nerf shotgun so we's can learn ol zombie Dave some ettiquette LOL

Dave Olsen
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I get up around 6 or so every day, Kyle. And have finished my half a pot by 9. The zombie stuff occurs if I stay up past 10 PM. Of course when I was 22 like the knucklehead above, I was just hitting the rack about the same time on a Saturday LOL. I'm lucky I didn't ramp off into someone's house back then. That drive back from Erie County after the bars closed at 4 AM was hell, as far as I can remember anyway. Then I joined the Navy and had the first top bunk directly under the speaker in boot camp. I would get an ear busting blast of reveille at 530 every stinking day. Now that was really hell. LOL But I digress..............

mike nixon
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Dave with the Zombie thing, You really need to get your wife to hurry up and read it. LOL

Oh and on a side note, My wife calls it the Marine Corps Syndrome. I am up every day, between 0500- 0530 every morning with out fail, no alarm clock. I slept in on 1/1/2013 until 0645. It was the running joke all day, "remember that time dad slept in" lol now I digress.....

Dave Olsen
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I did tell her, Mike. She is interested, said it sounds like a updated take on Fahrenheit 451, in which case I'd probably like it too. She's got one of those kindles stuck to her face. I don't read too much anymore, having some eye issues. Apparently the kindle is backlit and helps a lot, but I wouldn't know, I'm not allowed to touch it, LOL

Phil Ricci
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I hope they make this kid's insurance pay to fix everything and quickly. I want that place looking normal within a few weeks, and I hope he goes broke doing it.

Drinking is your choice, and driving is your privilege. If you want to put the two together, then you are responsible for all that you do, including all of the damage, fines, court & legal fees, drug and alcohol classes, etc. that he will face. I have no sympathy.

Dave Olsen
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You are absolutely right Phil. I was thinking about my comment above and shouldn't make light of drunk driving.

Kids, just 'cause Uncle Dave was a total idiot about this a long long time ago, and was EXTREMELY lucky, doesn't make driving when drinking OK. Don't drive if you've been drinking and don't let your friends do it. Get a designated driver, call someone to come get you or crash on the floor. It is dangerous and stupid. Pay attention to speed limits as well, usually they are there for a reason, like maybe a traffic circle is coming up.

Brenda Ranney
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Sounds like it's time for some well place boulders in front of those homes.

Howard B. Owens
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Point of clarification: National Fuel did not need to be called twice. Dispatchers called NF and then a first responder asked that NF be asked to expedite its response. There was no issue with getting a response on the first call.

I received this e-mail from Jon Bonning:

"I am a serviceman for National Fuel and noticed a poster commented that we should not have to be called twice to respond to a natural gas leak. I want to clarify that I did not have to be called twice. I was the emergency worker on call and was contacted at 5:30 this morning about a MVA damaging a meter with a potential leak. I live in Corfu and responded quickly to ensure safety. Very soon after arrival I turned off the service to the house and took inside readings in case of a potential for explosion as well as evacuating a sleeping tenant upstairs. We pride ourselves on quick response in cases of emergencies and would like our customers to know that in these cases our response times are second to none in comparison to other utilities. "

Michelle WIlliams
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@Howard-Thank you for posting the message from Mr. Bonning. I know that in times of an emergency some expect first responders and others to arrive almost immediately but (especially this time of year) I hope that this is not the case. I would say after looking at the response times on this story that Batavia did a really good job. As for Mr. Bonning driving from Corfu in the middle of the night says a lot as well. I say a big thumbs up to everyone involved for resolving such a chaotic scene

Rich Richmond
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I got a bird’s eye of the crash on the way to work this morning at approximately 6:10 PM on my way to 98 South. The authorities had the matter well in hand.

I had to take the jog on the South Main extension onto to 98 south rather than in my opinion the unnecessary traffic circle.

A while back an entire house had to be demolished because of the circle. As a lifelong Batavian, I don’t recall a house being hit because of drunken driving or excessive speed when it was not there.

Mark Janofsky
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Yes, it was “circle’s” fault! The “circle” force fed these guys alcohol past the point of inebriation.

Phil Ricci
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Richard,

What was there before was a nightmare. It was a damn mess. I am not a lifelong resident, and I dodged more accidents in that nightmare of a spot more times than I like to remember, because fools would just barrel through. The fact that so many have such an issue with a traffic circle just illustrates the lack of driving knowledge around here. They are very simple, and literally used all over the world without the same level of idiocy that I have seen here.

The fact remains, the circle was not the issue, being intoxicated was.

Rich Richmond
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Phil,

Of course intoxicated was an issue. Nonetheless there are other factors regarding roundabouts. Everything being equal it is easier to drive in a straight line as opposed to a curve or full circle regardless of the speed.

Times Union Article-The roundabout: Is it a vicious circle?
http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/The-roundabout-Is-it-a-vicious-c...

If entering a roundabout makes you fear you're about to crash, you're not paranoid.
Although the rotaries are built to ease congestion and lessen serious injuries, data obtained by the Times Union show the number of collisions increased after most of the roundabouts opened in the Capital Region.
Crashes increased at 15 of the 20 roundabouts built where a previous intersection existed, with fender benders even more likely to rise, sometimes dramatically, at two-lane rotaries. And while crashes were reduced at all the single-lane roundabouts built by the state, they rose at almost all those built by counties and towns.
Aggressive drivers are speeding through rotaries and failing to yield the right of way, said Mark Kennedy, director of traffic and safety for the state Department of Transportation in the Capital Region.
"We have found that single-lane roundabouts definitely reduce accidents," he said, referring to the state rotaries. "With multi-lane roundabouts, some are better, some are worse. There are two that are somewhat problematic."

In Malta, the roundabout at Route 9, Route 67 and Dunning Street went from an average of 7.8 crashes a year before the rotary to 45.7 a year afterward. In Bethlehem, the number of accidents at New Scotland Road and Route 140 jumped from an average of 9.6 a year to 38.3.
Two years ago, the state changed the signs and pavement markings at the Malta roundabout to help lessen the number of accidents.
"Those measures were not effective," Kennedy said.
Accidents in roundabouts tend to be less severe than at intersections with traffic lights. Rather than crash into each other head on or smack together in a T-bone crash, as drivers making lefts at conventional traffic lights often do, drivers in roundabouts tend to sideswipe and rear-end each other.
"The potential for high-speed, severe accidents is eliminated," Kennedy said.
At the Malta Diner, owner Steve Gouvis has a close-up view to the Capital Region's most treacherous roundabout. He said it has greatly lessened congestion but he is not surprised to hear crashes have risen.

"You hear a lot of honking during the course of the day," he said. "They control traffic effectively. You never have to wait more than five, six, seven seconds. They do work. I was a big skeptic."
But Gouvis said drivers appear not to always know who has the right of way.
"Most of them are minor accidents from people not accustomed to handling roundabouts," he said. "It's a hell of a lot safer than making left turns."
Brian Alymer and his daughter Maggie Alymer of Malta said they have adjusted to the rotary but see other drivers who are unfamiliar with it.
"I've watched the learning curve for local residents," Brian Alymer said as he sat eating lunch with his daughter at the Malta Diner. "What you see is a lot of people unfamiliar with roundabouts."
He said driving in them is simple: People just need to remember to yield to the person already in the roundabout.
Maggie Alymer recently moved to Malta from Illinois and said it took time for her to adjust to driving through the intersection.
"I don't have a problem with it. I did when I first got here," she said. "I will roll my window down and have to pay attention to what the cars are doing. You can't just roll into it."
Reed Hart of Hadley said roundabouts are good in theory but not in practice, given human nature.
"If people do what they are supposed to and cooperate, they work fine but people don't cooperate," he said while dining with his wife Pat at the Malta Diner. "There is no yielding."
His wife added that the intersection has too many blind spots.
At the Bethlehem roundabout, town resident Andrew Wickert said he became one of the accident statistics after the rotary opened. About a year ago, he rear-ended the car in front of him. Wickert had turned to look at traffic coming up alongside him and didn't realize the person in front of him had stopped.

"What I've learned is to stay in the far lane," Wickert said while standing in the parking lot of the nearby Price Chopper Plaza. "Even though I am a statistic, I am for it just because it keeps the traffic moving. Before, it was worse with the stoplights."
Another shopper, Elaine Verstandig, agreed. She said she was in an accident at the intersection before the rotary was built. On the day she spoke, Verstandig said, she had seen one person try to move into her lane in the roundabout and then stop in it. She watched a Volkswagen Jetta repeatedly circle the roundabout, its driver unsure how to get out to a main road.
"You have to know what you're doing," Verstandig said.
A lifelong resident of the town, she said, "the traffic is so much better."
This summer, both the Malta and Bethlehem roundabouts will get additional signs telling drivers to "Yield to All Lanes in the Circle." Markings that narrow as drivers approach the roundabouts will be added to the pavement to give drivers the impression their speed is increasing and they need to slow down.
In Bethlehem, the previous intersection was changed from one lane in each direction to two to reduce congestion. The result, however, has been that drivers enter the roundabout going too fast, Kennedy said.
Variable message boards warning drivers of their speed will be placed there this summer to get motorists to slow down, he said.
Not all the roundabouts in the Capital Region were built by the state. There are eight other roundabouts built by counties and towns.
All but one of the local roundabouts that are open are single-lane roundabouts, and all but one saw crashes rise. In many cases, the roundabouts are so new it is impossible to tell whether the rates will decline as drivers adjust to them.
The roundabout at Maxwell Road and Albany Shaker Road, built by Albany County, narrows from two lanes to one. It too has seen accidents rise slightly since it opened, according to Colonie town statistics.
In the first 10 months of operation, 20 crashes occurred at the roundabout, an average of two a month. In the prior three years, there were 48 or 1 1/3 a month. County officials say, however, that the change reduced the number of crashes along Albany Shaker Road between Wolf Road and Margaret Drive from an average of 14 a year to seven in the 10 months since it opened.
The accidents are not slowing down the construction of roundabouts in the Capital Region. There are two more, both with double lanes, under construction in Malta and another being built in East Greenbush.
"We've learned quite a lot about the design and operation of roundabouts" over the past five years, said James Boni, assistant to the state DOT's regional director. "If we were to design these problematic roundabouts today, we would have designed them quite a bit differently."
In reviewing crash data, DOT officials said they learned the accidents are not being caused by older people or those from outside the area.
"The accidents tend to be experienced drivers between 25 and 50 with a local zip code," Kennedy said. "It tells us that people familiar with the roundabouts and where they want to go, they are driving too fast. They are also choosing to be in the wrong lane."
To fully reduce crashes, drivers need to be more careful, said Carol Breen, a DOT spokeswoman.
"People do need to watch the pavement markings, watch the signs and be cognizant of their speed," she said. "People need to be very cognizant about yielding. If we can get at that driving behavior, we can bring these accidents down."

Dave Olsen
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"We have found that single-lane roundabouts definitely reduce accidents," he said, referring to the state rotaries. "

That's what that one is.

Rich Richmond
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Dave,

I honestly don’t recall the particulars; are you absolutely certain that this roundabout was built by the State and not by private contractors under supervision of the County.

Often time funds or grants are available to the County that must be spent.
Regardless who built it; Form always follows function and pretty landscaping is not always best.

They didn’t take into consideration that the single lane is not wide enough for large trucks, particularly double trailer rigs.

These mentioned trucks have to drive up on the brick to negotiate turns; 98 South is a major truck route that intersects several others.

Phil Ricci
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Thank you, Dave for pointing that out. I think common sense would tell you, the more lanes you put on anything (including straight lines), the bigger chance for accidents will occur, yet a single lane circle is relatively simple and safe. Sorry that people find that statement unlikeable, but all I have listened to since the circle's inception is things like this, and I honestly do not understand why it is so daunting of a thing to have a traffic pattern that makes sense, instead of a jumbled mess that was there.

Phil Ricci
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Yes Richard it was built by the state.

As far as trucks, that is what the center is for. It was designed so trucks could use it. It was also designed to slow traffic down.

Dave Olsen
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Those are not bricks. It is dyed and stamped concrete designed for trailers to roll over. Both Routes 33 and 98 are NYS Routes and are truck routes. That circle is made the way it is for a reason. I'm no great supporter of much that NYS ever does, I'd rather that money had been spent on bridge maintenance, but the roundabouts do work.

Phil Ricci
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And not to beat this horse, but the only accidents that I have seen reported here about the circle have been two drunk drivers (both hitting homes), and one gentlemen who was going way to fast and hit one of the benches.

Mark Janofsky
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RR2, I like Ms. Alymer's comment, "I will roll my window down and have to pay attention to what the cars are doing. You can't just roll into it." I'm thinking she's a beauty pageant contender.

Rich Richmond
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Yes, Mark, I agree. I can also appreciate Post # 12 by Brenda Gill in regard to the boulders, although the driver might not agree.

Howard B. Owens
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To confirm ... it's state property, state construction. Route 98 and Route 33 are state routes.

And when trucks drive through it with wheels on the raised red stamped section, they are using as it was designed to be used. It isn't, per se, a mistake. It's intentional. Why and whether that's a good idea, I don't know.

RICHARD L. HALE
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It is intentional Howard. The raised concrete is for the trailer wheels of the trucks...I understand also it is to keep smaller vehicles in a single lane.

My 2 cents....4 foot high guard rails all around...that way if you are going too fast, you will ricochet around the circle, either until you come to...or your car runs out of gas !!

Robert Tretter
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I live on 33 and use the roundabout many times a day. At first i was totally against it. But now am totally for it. It works. What was there before was a night mare like someone said earlier. Of course there will be drivers who are confused but i think these drivers are confused normally. One time while sitting waiting to enter the circle an elderly gentlemen came into the circle the opposite way. When he passed in front of me going the wrong way he didn't bat an eye thinking he was in the rite.

John Woodworth JR
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Dave you were not an idiot. You were just being a kid of that era. Heck, I was a young kid and my grandpa allow me to drink small cups of beer. Underage drinking was not punished like it is today.

Unfortunately, we do not teach responsibility, respect and moderation. We blame bad childhood, abusive parents or that person should not have been there.

As far as MR. Dumass hitting the roundabout at approximately 60 mph, well that is just pure stupidity. Hmmm, I am pretty sure the speed limit is posted for 30 mph. I am pretty sure (3)0 and (6)0 do not look the same. However, maybe MR. Dumass can't read? Oh yeah, he was under the influence and the (3)0 shaped itself to look like a (6)0. In any case he can't drive.

Kyle Couchman
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Richard can we paint those suggested guardrails some bright colors and add lights and pinball sound effects.....then it would be fun to watch.

Dave Olsen
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Thanks for being kind, John. But without going into a lot of details, Oh yes, I was a total idiot. I'll never defend drunk driving, just because I did it and got away with it many times. I have no issue with alcohol and could even argue for lowering the drinking age. However while some people have drinking problems, some, like me have responsibility problems. I agree with you there. Alcohol doesn't help much with that. Anyway, I'm glad noone was hurt and I hope young Mr. Goff takes this as a wake up call. It took me a lot longer. I also hope the house gets repaired.

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