“Friday the 13th” lived up to its name for Jean Ehntholt of North Granville when a Waterford man drove off the road and crashed into her garage and two of her vehicles on County Route 17 and fled the scene around 7:30 a.m. on May 13.
After initially telling police he was not the driver of the crashed vehicle, Anthony Mullahey, 21, was located by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office following a K-9 search, confessed and received multiple tickets, according to Sgt. Kolar of the sheriff’s office.
Kolar said the tickets included aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second degree, operating at an unreasonable speed, operating with a suspended license and having an open container, among other violations.
Kolar added that Mullahey has a warrant for his arrest through the Troy police department for minor traffic violations and was advised by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office to turn himself in there after Troy PD said they were unable to transport Mullahey.
Mullahey told police that he was in Granville to go camping with his friends because there are not a lot of opportunities to do so in the Troy and Waterford area.
While in her bedroom watching TV as she prepared for the day, Ehntholt heard a huge crash outside and had a natural reaction of, “what the heck?”
Ehntholt said she observed two of her cars, a black Chevrolet Cruze and a black Saab, had been struck and sent close to 100 feet down a hill on her property near a tree, along with the damage to her garage.
Ehntholt added she spoke with Mullahey, who had cut his thumb but did not report any other injuries to Ehntholt.
“He (Mullahey) just kept apologizing saying, ‘I know it’s my fault, I take all of the blame,’” Ehntholt said.
Kolar said Mullahey has insurance for the vehicle and can be held liable for the damages that way. The sheriffs, although informed by witnesses they believed Mullahey was intoxicated, did not observe any sign or smell of impairment after tracking Mullahey down.
Mullahey was approached by Kyle Thompson, of Wallingford, Vermont who was two houses away and heard the crash. Thompson said he was taking a nap in his car while his girlfriend was babysitting inside when the collision woke him up.
“I looked over and saw a lot of dust and watched for it to clear and I saw the car (the Mercury Milan) sitting sideways and I sat there and watched it for a second, saw the kid (Mullahey) get out of the car and just the way he sat on the car I thought ‘that ain’t normal,’” Thompson said. “As soon as I walked closer, I saw the building was all messed up, he pushed another car down to the tree. It was pretty bad, then I sat there and tried to calm him down and he was like, ‘oh man, I’m going to jail, I’m going to jail.’ I was like, ‘well calm down, dude. Are you okay? You’re not hurt right? Obviously you’re standing up but you could still have something broken?’
“I got him to calm down and sit on his hood for a little while and I joked around with him a little bit, ‘jeez, you’re lucky you didn’t hit that telephone pole,’ just shooting the breeze with him trying to keep him there.”
Thompson said Mullahey was still visibly upset after talking for 20 to 30 minutes, having a hard time standing due to possibly being intoxicated and that Thompson tried talking Mullahey down before Mullahey bolted across the street and into the woods just prior to the Washington County Sheriff’s Office arriving on scene.
“He must’ve been (drinking), he couldn’t even stand up,” Thompson said. “There were Twisted Tea cans all over the driveway.”
Kolar said with the help of K-9 Tusko, K-9 Officer Quesnel and Sgt. Diamond, police located Mullahey roughly 3.8 miles away from the incident near Mary J. Tanner School and the intersection of State Routes 22 and 22A.
Thompson said he was asked by the sheriff’s office to identify the man via multiple pictures they provided.
“I told him straight up, ‘dude, I ain’t going to chase you, but it would be stupid to run. You already told me this is your car, that’s what I’m going to tell the cops when they get here, I’m going to tell them this is your car and I know you’re 20 years old or so, you already said you have a warrant and they’re looking for you,’” Thompson said.
“He asked me if I knew the place (the area), asked me if he could come over to my house. I told him I live in Vermont, I ain’t got nothing for you. I’m from nowhere around here, I have to use GPS to get here! Then he asked me if he could come sit in my car and I said ‘no dude, you can’t come near my car, you need to stay over here. There are kids over there, you need to sit there.’”
NYVTmedia spoke briefly with the homeowner’s son, Logan Ehntholt, who had driven from New Hampshire after hearing brief details about the incident and said the Saab had been towed by Warner’s Auto. Ehntholt was at a loss for words.
Mullahey’s Mercury Milan was also towed by Warner’s Auto. Malcolm Brown of County Route 17, who came to the scene after hearing the crash, said the towed vehicles are “not fixable” based on his observations.
“I told the cops this morning, ‘see, if you were patrolling the road, you probably could have got the guy,” Brown said. “I couldn’t believe that guy getting away from them!”
Brown said he felt awful for Jean Ehntholt and wished Logan and Brown were there for when Mullahey left the scene so they could have prevented him from getting away.
“I can’t believe her taking all the rap though, it’s not her fault that this happened. There’s a lot of work that has to be done here,” Brown said. “I told her, no sense in getting upset, the job is done.”