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Whitestown chief won't be ticketed for no lights

By Joleen Ferris

Whitestown Police Chief Donald Wolanin will not be ticketed for not having his emergency lights activated while when he was struck by a motorcyclist while stopped to help a disabled motorist last Wednesday, officials say.

It happened on the Route 5A on-ramp to Commercial Drive westbound.  The disabled motorist flagged down Wolanin.  He pulled up alongside the driver and began a dialogue. That's when Wolanin tells Oneida County Sheriff's Department investigators that a motorcycle struck his patrol car from the rear. Mary Tartaglia, 49, of Utica, was the driver of the motorcycle.

The Oneida County Undersheriff says that state vehicle and traffic law does not require drivers of authorized emergency vehicles to activate their emergency lights when stopped, standing or parked in response to a call. Had the chief been running a red light en route to a call, the lights would have been required.

Sheriff's investigators have tried to interview Tartaglia. She's hospitalized in Syracuse, unable to respond. Investigators are awaiting the final, written report from the accident reconstruction. It's not yet clear if any tickets will be issued.

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