Fredonia Man Facing Charges After Sheridan Store Crash

The Sheridan Convenience Store is boarded up after a Fredonia man crashed into the building Sunday. Owner Mark Greene said the store will reopen after repairs are made. Photo by Jimmy McCarthy

SHERIDAN — A Fredonia man is facing charges after he barreled through a store and caused extensive damage to the building as well as products and equipment inside.

The incident at the Sheridan Convenience Store on Sunday was caught on tape via the store’s surveillance footage. As 6:35 p.m. approaches, a white SUV is seen veering off Route 20 near Route 39 at a high rate of speed straight toward the building. The vehicle smashes through the store to the back corner where drink coolers are located.

After crashing through the store, the operator, identified by New York State Troopers as 40-year-old Gary J. Epolito, proceeds to drive forward before trying to back up. Epolito exits the car after he was met by a local man who entered the store.

Troopers who investigated the incident say Epolito admitted to consuming alcohol and huffing Ultra Duster while operating the vehicle. A report by troopers says Epolito told them that he “blacked-out” and did not remember driving into the building. Several field sobriety tests were administered to Epolito.

Upon failing field sobriety tests, he was arrested and processed at state police barracks in Fredonia. He was also found to be in possession of nine-and-a-half grams of marijuana. He’s being charged with driving while intoxicated and unlawful possession of marijuana. He’ll appear in Sheridan Town Court later this month.

The incident didn’t result in any injuries to those who were inside the store at the time of the incident. The only individual inside who was near the vehicle’s oncoming path was a clerk who dodged away before it came crashing through.

While items and equipment destroyed by the incident couldn’t be saved, owner Mark Greene acknowledged that the store will reopen once everything is replaced. He also thanked those who came out to provide help after the incident.

“We’ll get it going,” he said. “We appreciate all the support from the people who wanted to help out. The people around here are great.”