Man responsible for two crashes sent to jail

Clifton Reynolds / photo: OCSO

The man who was involved in two separate car crashes in two days, including one at a popular Liverpool restaurant, has been arrested and is in jail.

Onondaga County Sheriff's Deputies say 35-year-old Clifton Reynolds' vehicle crossed the center line on River Road in Lysander around 9:00 p.m. Thursday and collided head-on with another car. This came just 30 some hours after he crashed his sport utility vehicle into the Pier 57 restaurant on County Route 57 in Liverpool Wednesday afternoon.

One of the cars in the Thursday crash was pinned against a guard rail. Investigators on the scene say they had to pull out one victim before they could get to the one against the guard rail. At last check the second driver, 23-year-old Richard Zimmerman, was was in serious condition Friday at Upstate University Hospital with a leg injury.

The Onondaga County Sheriff's Office reported Friday afternoon that Reynolds, of Gaskin Road in Clay, was arrested by detectives upon his release from University Hospital. Deputies say he was arraigned in Clay Town Court and remanded to the County Justice Center. He has been charged with felony DWI, felony driving while impaired by drugs, felony first degree aggravated unlicensed operator, imprudent speed, and driving to the left of pavement markings - all for the Route 57 crash.

Detectives have also charged Reynolds with misdemeanor unauthorized use of a motor vehicle, aggravated unlicensed operator, reckless driving, imprudent speed, and driving to the left of pavement markings as a result of the Thursday night crash in Lysander.

Brandon Hefferman lives on River Road in Lysander, half a mile north of Route 31. The second crash happened right in front of his house. He tells CNY Central that he can TMt understand how Reynolds got behind the wheel of another car a little more than a day after the crash on Route 57. He wonders why Reynolds wasn TMt in jail after the first incident.

Onondaga County District Attorney Bill Fitzpatrick told CNY Central reporter Jim Kenyon Friday that he is looking into the circumstances surrounding both accidents. Fitzpatrick points out that Reynolds has two prior misdemeanor DWI convictions in Onondaga County, and a DWAI (driving while ability impaired) conviction in Oswego County. Fitzpatrick says Reynolds could have been charged with felony DWI and placed in jail after the Route 57 accident, based on the prior DWI convictions and the fact that he was driving with a revoked license.

Sheriff Kevin Walsh says deputies could not have charged Reynolds with felony DWI after the accident at Pier 57 because they could not draw blood samples at the time. He adds that even if deputies did charge him with felony DWI, he would have still been eligible for bail and able to gain release from jail.

Bill Ennis, the owner of Pier 57, wanted to know whether someone allowed Reynolds to take their car knowing that his license had been revoked. Walsh says the woman whose car Reynolds was driving Thursday night told deputies he took it without her permission.

Reynolds was remanded to jail in lieu of $35,000 cash bail or $60,000 bond for the Clay charges and $15,000 cash or $30,000 bond on the Lysander charges.

Ennis says the Pier 57 restaurant has reopened and workers are continuing to make repairs to the front of the building.