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Trooper: Charges 'not likely' in fatal N. Salem accident

Police and fire officials work along on Route

Police and fire officials work along on Route 22 in North Salem, where a man was struck by a car. He later died from his injuries. (Feb. 17, 2013) Photo Credit: News 12

The 88-year-old driver who struck and killed a pedestrian on Route 22 in North Salem is unlikely to face charges, officials said Sunday.

"At this time, charges are not likely," said State Police Investigator James Stirpe. "Honestly, it looks like a tragic accident."

William Geller, a 47-year-old graphic designer from Purdys, was struck by a 2005 Chevy Impala as he walked along the road near Whip Mill Lane on Friday.

Stirpe said the driver, Richard Bertram of Somers, was unharmed but "very upset and distraught at the accident."

Bertram is a World War II Navy veteran who led American Legion Post 8213 and was named in 2012 by state Sen. Greg Ball to a local Veterans' Hall of Fame.

Stirpe said investigators are waiting for a report on the accident by the Troop K reconstruction unit. That report is expected within a few weeks, he said.

Geller, principal at Bill Geller Design, produced designs for advertising campaigns, packaging, books and posters, according to his LinkedIn profile. His clients have included ESPN Publishing, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Time Warner Publishing, Westchester Arts Council and Westchester Medical Center.

On Twitter, Geller's friends were mourning his loss and some were commenting on the dangers posed to pedestrians on that stretch of Route 22.

"Definitely not a road you should be walking on," said one Twitter post.

Stirpe said "there's not much of a shoulder and there's no sidewalk" in the area where Geller was struck.

After the 3 p.m. accident, emergency responders found Geller severely injured and without a pulse.

A paramedic and a North Salem police officer began cardiopulmonary resuscitation and managed to restart his heart. An ambulance took him to Danbury Hospital's trauma center in Connecticut, but he died on Saturday.

State Police investigators impounded Bertram's car to analyze the impact marks. They said Bertram came around a curve and hit Geller from behind.

North Salem police said they think Geller accidentally locked his keys in his car at the parking lot of the Metro-North train station and was walking home when he was hit.

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