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Local News

July 3, 2013

Police: Impaired driver hit judge's home

An Oneonta woman was charged with impaired driving after the vehicle she was driving backed into the 8 Hazel St. residence of the city judge, police said.

No one was home when the accident happened at about 9 p.m. Monday, police said, and no one was injured.

Patricia Bennett, 56, of 3 Hazel St., was charged Monday with driving while ability impaired by alcohol and unsafe backing, Oneonta police said.

Bennett told police that she put the vehicle, a 2011 Toyota Highlander, into reverse gear and it took off uncontrollably, according to the police report, and an investigation revealed that the vehicle was airborne for a short distance.

The sport utility vehicle crashed into the front of the 8 Hazel St. residence of Oneonta City Court Judge Lucy Bernier and her husband, Joseph Bernier, a retired city administrator, police said.  

Damage to the vehicle and the house was significant, police said, and supports had to be installed at the house, which Oneonta fire officials deemed unsafe to occupy Monday night. A wrecker removed the vehicle from the house.

Bennett was issued a ticket to appear in city court at a later date.

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