Nassau, NY Tractor Trailer And Auto Crash, Jun 1956


ROBERT GALLAGHER, 27, of Somerville, Mass., operator of a tractor-trailer in the crash that killed five persons in Wednesday's accident on Route 20 near Nassau, was arraigned early last evening before Justice of the Peace Morris Zweig in Nassau on a charge of criminal negligence.
GALLAGHER asked for a preliminary hearing on the charge and Justice Zweig adjourned the case until July 10. Bail was fixed at $2,000 which was posted at 10:50 p.m. by Joseph Murphy, attorney for the trucking firm.
GALLAGHER was arrested by State Police following his release from Albany Hospital late yesterday morning. He was detained at the East Greenbush Station of Troop G until his arraignment. The tractor-trailer driver had received treatment at the hospital for a spine injury suffered in the accident.
David P. Moynihan, assistant secretary to Governor Averell Harriman, talked by telephone yesterday with John O. Kie, president of the Nassau Improvement Association, which has long campaigned for state action on the dangerous stretch of Route 20. Moynihan told Kie that the governor is giving the Nassau accident investigation top priority and that something definitely will be done to remedy what he termed a "ghastly situation." Moynihan said the governor was
"horrified" by the tragedy.
Meanwhile, the State of Massachusetts has assigned Supervising Inspector Carl J. Catalano and Inspector George F. Stitt to cooperate with New York State authorities in the investigation.
Victims of the accident were:
Air Force Capt. JAMES H WATERS, 34;
his wife, RUTH MAYWOOD WATERS, 26;
the couple's two sons, JAMES H. JR., 9; and GARY SCOTT, 7;
and GERALD BURDICK, 14, nephew of the Waters couple.
Rensselaer County Coroner Ira D. VanWormer
of Rensselaer is withholding an official decision in the accident. John T. Casey, district attorney of Rensselaer County, said evidence gathered in the state's investigation of the accident, ordered by Governor Harriman, will be presented to the grand jury. Mr. Casey is investigating the accident with State Police and the State Motor Vehicle Bureau.
Kie said yesterday he plans to call an emergency meeting. The Nassau Improvement Association of which he is the head, has been campaigning for elimination of
"dangerous conditions" on Route 20 between Brainard and Nassau.
WATERS, his wife, two sons and the nephew were killed when the top of their car was sheared off by the trailer which jackknifed.
Gallagher was arraigned last night by Trooper Milton K. Rembach.
Governor Harriman has directed the Motor Vehicle Bureau and the State Police to submit to him by Monday their report on the accident. The governor previously ordered a detailed investigation of that accident and three others involving tractor-trailers the same day. A total of ten persons were killed in the series of crashes in various parts of the state.
Capt. WATERS had recently been transferred to Plattsburg Air Force Base from Florida. Young BURDICK lived in Elmira Heights.

The Troy Record New York 1956-06-30