After Leandra’s Law arrest at high school, businessman admits ‘mistake’

10/31/2014 2:52 PM |

A Riverhead businessman and philanthropist is facing multiple drunken driving charges — including two felonies — after allegedly crashing in the Riverhead High School parking lot Wednesday morning with a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit while a teenager was in his SUV, according to town court documents.

Jesse “Bobby” Goodale, who was released on bail after his arraignment Wednesday, admitted to the News-Review that he had been drinking that morning after getting “bad news” and said he would accept the consequences of his “mistake.”

News of the arrest was first reported on RiverheadLocal.

“It was my mistake, there was no question it was my mistake,” Mr. Goodale said in a phone interview. “I’m very upset … but it was clearly my fault to allow this to happen.”

Mr. Goodale said he had never been arrested for such an offense before, and would have to see what would happen after the outcome of his court case. His attorney, John Ciarelli of Riverhead, could not be immediately reached for comment.

Town criminal filings state that Mr. Goodale was involved in an accident in the high school parking lot about 10:17 a.m.

No one was injured, Riverhead Town police said. Authorities had not released information about the arrest in publicly available releases.

Mr. Goodale said he had bumped into the bumper of the car in front of him while at the school, adding that there was no major damage to either vehicle.

Mr. Goodale, 67, of Flanders is accused of having a blood alcohol content of three times the legal limit at the time of the crash, according to town court documents. Mr. Goodale registered a .24 blood alcohol content after taking a breath test, and also had “glassy, bloodshot eyes, slurred speech and was unsteady on [his] feet,” the documents state.

A 14-year-old child — who was not identified by police, but whom Mr. Goodale said was his child — was in the car at the time of the crash, court papers state.

Mr. Goodale was arrested and charged in Riverhead Town court with two counts of misdemeanor DWI, two counts of felony aggravated DWI and one count of misdemeanor endangering the welfare of a child, a court clerk said.

He was released from custody after posting $10,000 bail, according to the court clerk.

Mr. Goodale’s family founded Riverhead Building Supply and he is a former president of the Riverhead Chamber of Commerce.

He also previously served as the chair of PBMC Health’s board of directors. Mr. Goodale had sued the hospital in 2013 over the naming rights to the hospital’s expanded emergency center.

Mr. Goodale has been an active philanthropist on the East End, creating Goodale Productions, an independent film company that seeks to “instill a community friendly value in our children,” according to the company’s website.

He has also been involved in numerous other causes, such as East End Arts, United Way of Long Island and the Suffolk County Community College Foundation.

Mr. Goodale is due back in court on Nov. 26, a town court clerk said.

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Correction: A previous version of this article stated that Mr. Goodale helped found Riverhead Building Supply. It was Jesse Goodale II, not III, who founded the company.