Deputies accuse Rome man of driving recklessly at zoo

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SYRACUSE — A Rome man has been charged after law enforcement officials said he drove his SUV onto the grounds of the Rosamond Gifford Zoo in Syracuse, according to law enforcement officials.

The Onondaga County Sheriff’s Office said Christopher Russitano, 32, of Rome, opened a gate at the zoo at about 2:30 p.m. Tuesday and drove his SUV into the interior areas of the zoo.

Deputies said Russitano’s
vehicle struck several fences, posts and other objects inside the zoo; however no visitors or employees were hurt during the incident.

Authorities said the SUV eventually became disabled on the observation deck of the elephant exhibit. A photo of the vehicle shows extensive damage to a wood and wire partition on the exhibit deck.

Russitano is charged with one count each of first-degree reckless endangerment, second-degree mischief and criminal trespass, authorities said.

He was arraigned in court and was sent to Onondaga County Jail without bail. He is scheduled to reappear in court.

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