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Published: Thursday, 7/31/2014

Man, 84, going to jail for fatal car accident

Toledoan draws 6-month sentence

BY MAYA AVERBUCH
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Attorney Thomas Douglas, left, heads back into Lucas County Common Pleas Court with his client, Robert W. Conboy, 84, who was sentenced to six months in jail. Attorney Thomas Douglas, left, heads back into Lucas County Common Pleas Court with his client, Robert W. Conboy, 84, who was sentenced to six months in jail.
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Declaring it “disturbing” to flee from the scene of a fatal car accident, a Lucas County judge sentenced an 84-year-old Toledo man Wednesday to six months in jail.

Robert W. Conboy of 4908 Monac Drive was driving east Feb. 12 on West Alexis Road when he struck a pedestrian walking in the curb lane. Conboy drove to his apartment on Jamieson Drive, where he was later taken into custody, while Donald Galdys, 59, was declared dead at ProMedica Toledo Hospital.

In June, Conboy pleaded no contest to aggravated vehicular homicide and failure to stop, and Lucas County Common Pleas Judge Gene Zmuda found him guilty of those charges.

“What you have before you is a very quiet, reserved individual,” defense attorney Thomas Douglas said as he sought community control for his client. “He has been a good citizen in our community.”

Conboy worked as a printer at The Blade for about 30 years before retiring two decades ago, and he had no criminal record, according to Judge Zmuda.

But the judge said Conboy’s stoic attitude displayed little remorse during court proceedings.

“These are some of the most difficult cases that judges have to wrestle with ... [because] lives have been ruined and affected forever,” Judge Zmuda said. “You knew what you did, and you didn’t stop. That’s hard to get your arms around.”

The defendant’s statement included little more than, “I’m just very sorry for what I did,” even after family members presented a letter from the victim’s brother, Gary Galdys, in which they stated that they never wanted Conboy to drink or drive again.

“We will never forget the call we received from Toledo Hospital,” read Lynn Carder, executive director of the victim witness assistance program, as Sally Galdys, the victim’s sister-in-law, and Jill Urbaniak, his niece, stood beside her. “We don’t want another family to go through what we’ve had to deal with.”

At the time of the accident, Conboy’s blood-alcohol content was slightly over Ohio’s legal limit of 0.08. The judge required him to undergo six months of electronic monitoring with an alcohol-detection device upon release from the Corrections Center of Northwest Ohio.

In addition, he permanently suspended Conboy’s driver’s license and ordered that he submit to random breath tests during three years of probation.

“No alcohol will ever be consumed by you again. Do you understand?” said Judge Zmuda, who required Conboy to perform 200 hours of community service.

Outside the courtroom, Conboy’s son, Robert, tearfully expressed his sorrow to Mr. Galdys’ family.



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