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Locals Demand Answers From Tarrytown About Deaths

TARRYTOWN, N.Y. – Tensions erupted into angry outbursts during Wednesday's Tarrytown Board of Trustees meeting as family and friends of John Kelly and Anthony Ruggiero tried to get more answers from the board about the accident that lead to Kelly and Ruggiero's deaths.

“I'm appalled that we have this going on for a year,” John Kelly's brother-in-law John Chebetar said.

During the last board meeting, a group of residents submitted a letter and petition to have village administrator Michael Blau investigated over his actions before, during and after the accident. Mayor Drew Fixell announced that the village had decided to send the information to various agencies in the state, including the Westchester District Attorny, the Westchester Department of Public Safety and New York State Police.

“It is the determination of the board that we will deal with that request and letter by having the village attorney send that letter to the appropriate authorities,” Fixell said, adding that the village was not in a position to conduct such an investigation. “...We will ask that those agencies consider the claims in the letter and take whatever actions they believe are necessary and to let us know if they want us to do something.”

John Stiloski questioned the board about several of the concerns brought up in the letter submitted to the village, including whether a tape of a village meeting concerning the hiring of a hearing officer was missing. Stiloski also questioned Fixell about what the village has done for the families of the two men.

Fixell said the meeting was the first time he had heard of the missing tape. He also said the village had done everything they could legally do for the families.

Stiloski and Fixell got into a heated argument about Stiloski's questioning after Fixell answered some questions, couldn't answer some questions and would not answer others.

“Don't act like I'm bothering you, sir,” Stiloski said. “We've got serious concerns here about the village administrator that you need to address.”

Trustee Douglas Zollo jumped into the exchange and advised Fixell and the other officials to not answer questions related to the accident because the village was still involved in litigation on the issue. He advised Blau not to speak because he may end up being investigated.

“We're involved in serious litigation,” Zollo said. “Please don't ask us questions we can't answer.”

Chebetar later exchanged heated words with Zollo, saying the village was only concerned with the financial ramifications of the accident.

“It has been a year, and I'd like to thank you, Mr. Zollo, for pointing out the concern with the village has been about the litigation and has been from the start,” he said. “On the night it happened, we did not see one person from this administration at the hospital... but we did see you on TV. The village is more concerned with the financial ramifications.”

Zollo strenuously disputed Chebetar's accusations, saying Chebetar had no right to make such accusations. “That's not true,” he said.

Zollo also pointed out that the board had moved its meeting day from Tuesday to Wednesday because of the anniversary of the deaths. Fixell later noted that the timing of the hearing report was out of the village's hands and that it wasn't intentional to finish it near the anniversary.

Chebetar said he was appalled that the village paid for a hearing investigation without considering the PESH report, which cited major infractions by the village.

“Because of your not enforcing the policy that we may have had or not have had—'Well, I don't know'—two men died,” he said. “Two families are without their loved one.”

Do you think there are still unanswered questions regarding the deaths of John Kelly and Anthony Ruggiero that the village of Tarrytown needs to address?

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