Trashed: Driver for private hauler smashed into parked cars while drunk, DA says

Trashed: Driver for private hauler smashed into parked cars while drunk, DA says
Photo by Mark Mellone

A driver for a private carting company was drunk behind the wheel when he crashed into several cars outside a 60th Street apartment complex in Mapleton on June 9, according to the district attorney, who charged the motorist with operating a vehicle under the influence at his arraignment the next day.

Police — who arrested driver Anthony Castaldo, a Flatlands resident, the day of the incident — said he was behind the wheel of a truck for Bensonhurst-based Viking Sanitation, traveling along 60th Street between 18th and 19th avenues, when he crashed into several cars and a pile of fallen trees steps from the residential building’s entrance just before 5:30 am, according to a district attorney’s office spokeswoman.

Castaldo showed signs of intoxication at the scene that included slurred speech, smelling of alcohol, and walking with an unsteady gait, the spokeswoman said.

And when an officer arrived and asked Castaldo if he was driving, the defendant pushed the cop away and fled on foot, according to authorities, who said the officer then pursued Castaldo and fell — bruising his hands and arms — before he eventually caught the defendant by using a Taser.

Castaldo admitted guilt, according to the district attorney’s office spokeswoman, telling the officer, “I’m sorry, I was driving and I fell asleep.”

Paramedics transported both Castaldo and the officer to Maimonides Hospital, where the driver was in stable condition and the officer was treated for his minor injuries.

A rep for Viking Sanitation said the company prioritizes safety and suspended Castaldo as part of its probe into what went down.

“Our company has a long track record of safety and we hold ourselves to high standards, including random drug testing for drivers,” the spokesman said. “It appears that this driver failed to adhere to our standards and he was immediately suspended as part of the ongoing investigation of this serious incident.”

The private carting industry has a history of trouble in the city. Drivers for private haulers killed seven people citywide last year, while city sanitation drivers haven’t killed anyone since 2014, according to a ProPublica investigation.

And Mayor DeBlasio has repeatedly declined to comment on the reckless record of one firm, Action Carting — whose drivers have killed five people in the last decade and whose workers complain the company prioritizes speed over safety — even though it has raked in more than $100,000,000 via city contracts since 2007.

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.