July 12, 2006
Senior Shuttles Shattered
Scores of senior citizens found themselves stranded last week, thanks to a mischief-maker who trashed East Hampton Town's transportation fleet over the July 4 holiday. According to Supervisor Bill McGintee, three of the town's vans, two buses and a car were shot out by what appeared to be a BB gun-toting vandal. Three other vehicles parked near the motor pool section at Town Hall were also targeted. Windshields and windows were the most victimized, rendering the vehicles inoperable.
By Friday, two vehicles were back on line but for almost three days, the program just limped along.
According to Edna Steck of the Department of Human Services, the town assists about 300 residents through its transportation program, which has been in place since the mid 1970s. Seniors can get rides to doctor's appointments, or for just everyday errands. Clients in the adult day care centers in both Montauk and East Hampton receive rides, as do disabled adults who are transported to meet a bus taking them to a rehab center in Westhampton. Kids who participate in town youth programs also use the service.
When the carnage was discovered, Steck said, the supervisor of the transportation program Sheila Morales worked quickly to find the means to get some of the seniors where they needed to go. They were able to provide rides to the daily senior lunch program, but in some instances, had to reschedule routine medical appointments.
Between the cases at the senior center and town hall cost of the damage was around $2700. That means a felony charge for the culprit. As of press time, police were interviewing a suspect. Information on the pending arrest was not available, however.