Sheriff: It's probably the worst day ever

July 04, 2017 06:59 PM

NORTHVILLE -- When Northville police officer Bob Johnson died late Monday night on Route 30, struck by a car while helping another motorist who struck a deer, his shift had actually just ended, and Fulton County's sheriff was quick to point out the sickening irony.

"Thousands of times he probably crossed in traffic helping other officers or people and five minutes after he gets off duty, it makes it that much more tragic," says Fulton County Sheriff Richard Giardino.

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Johnson retired from the Gloversville Police Department in 2004, after serving 30 years, then briefly worked for the sheriff's department, but for the past ten years he's been patrolling Northville as a part time village officer, which becomes a big job over the summer when people flock to the Great Sacandaga Lake.

"I know I could gage by the tone in my officer in charge's voice last night, when he called me, how despondent he was over it and I know the whole community is feeling that same loss," said Northville Mayor John Spaeth. "I would call Bob a throwback officer in terms of his duties here in Northville. He was more of the friendly beat cop type of an officer who knew everybody and everybody knew him."

Carla Kolbe, who has lived in the village for about four years says it was very typical for Johnson to do something on his way home to help someone else.

"It's tough to lose one of your own," Kolbe says, "Someone like Bob was such a great person. We see him in the village. He was here to protect us always."

Kolbe says her Fourth of July celebration has already been tempered.

"Everybody here is enjoying themselves, have a good time, but you know that someone is in pain somewhere," she says.

Giardino says three years ago, when he was a judge, he performed the wedding for Johnson and his wife.

"I can't really express the feeling because I now in a manner how bad we feel," Giardino says, "It just hurts me so much to know what the family is going through."

While Giardino continues to mourn his friend's death, something else, he says, will haunt him. He says a family member found out about Johnson's death on social media when his name was posted on-line and now he's asking people to show some "common decency" in the future in matters like this.

Giardino says no charges will be filed in the case. He calls it "just a tragic accident".


WNYT Staff

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