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Superintendent Colonel Melissa Zebley

Bridgeville Man Charged with Vehicular Assault After Striking a Fire Police Directing Traffic- Seaford

Date Posted: Sunday, October 31st, 2021


Seaford, DE- Delaware State Police arrested William L. Purnell, 56, of Bridgeville, Saturday night after he struck a Seaford Fire Police directing traffic.

On October 30, 20201, at approximately 10:21 p.m., Seaford Fire Department was on scene of an automobile accident on Cannon Road. An 83-year-old Seaford man was acting in a Fire Police capacity at the intersection of Cannon Road and Camp Road, directing traffic. The Fire Police was wearing a high visibility traffic vest, was holding a light up wand, and his vehicle was parked next to him with the emergency lights activated. William Purnell was driving a 2012 Dodge Journey westbound on Cannon Road approaching Camp Road. Purnell failed to see the Fire Police directing traffic in the intersection and struck him with the front center of his vehicle.

The 83-year-old victim was transported to an area hospital and admitted with serious injuries.

Purnell was not injured during the collision and the investigation discovered he was driving under the influence of alcohol. He was taken into custody and transported to Delaware State Police Troop 5 where he was charged with the following crimes:

  • Vehicular Assault First Degree (Felony)
  • Driving Under the Influence
  • Driving While Suspended
  • Inattentive Driving

Purnell was arraigned in the Justice of the Peace Court #3 and committed to Sussex Correctional Institution on a $3,250.00 cash bond.

a loved one to a sudden death and are in need of assistance, the Delaware State Police Victim Services Unit/Delaware Victim Center is available to offer you support and resources 24 hours a day through a toll-free hotline 1800 VICTIM-1. (1-800-842-8461). You may also email the unit Director at Debra.Reed@delaware.gov.

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Presented by Public Information Officer, Master Corporal Heather Pepper

Released: 103121 1345



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