$1.9M Price for Animal House Crash [2004-08-25]

Gersh Kuntzman, Murray Weiss and Heidi Singer [New York Post]


The Animal House is in the doghouse again. Next week a Bronx judge is expected to approve a $1.9 million jury award to a passenger injured in a 1995 crash between a cab and a ladder truck from the scandal-scarred Ladder Co. 33/Engine Co. 75 firehouse in Fordham.

The jury found the cabby 80 percent responsible for the accident, with the FDNY to blame for the other 20 percent leaving the city on the hook for $380,000, a Fire Department spokesman said yesterday.

Driver William Hoag, then of Ladder Co. 33, was “totally drunk,” said cab passenger victim Alex Tillie.

“He was incoherent and staggering. You could smell it on his breath,” Tillie told The Post yesterday.

Tillie’s lawyer, Peter DeFilippis, said the case is relevant in light of the recent sex romp at the fire station.

FDNY spokesman Frank Gribbon denied that Hoag was drunk. “He was tested a few hours after the crash by the department,” said Gribbon, who blamed the cabby for “blowing through” the stop sign.

Yesterday, investigators grilled three Engine Co. 75 firefighters about last Friday’s sexcapades, bringing to six the number interrogated so far.

The four firefighters targeted by the probe for allegedly having sex with a self-proclaimed firemen groupie are expected to face investigators today or tomorrow, a source said.

In other developments yesterday:

* It was revealed that forensic tests are being conducted on a pillow and other evidence seized from the firehouse, but not on the pillowcase. “Prosecutors do not have the pillowcase,” an official said.

* Phone records indicate the last of at least 15 calls made by the woman at the center of the scandal to the firehouse was at 6 a.m., after she had returned to her Staten Island home and shortly before she called 911 to report she had been gang-raped in the firehouse.

She later said the sex was consensual.

Link to actual online article: https://nypost.com/2004/08/25/1-9m-price-for-animal-house-crash/