Glenn Neely got too drunk on the weekend of New Castle’s sesquicentennial celebrations. It was his last summer as a bachelor—he was due to be married in November. That may have had something to do with it, but it’s just as likely that it didn’t; a lot of people got too drunk that weekend. He probably met Larry Day and Norman Ross in the cells.
Glenn was a building contractor at the time. Later, he went into business selling construction supplies. He drove a lot for work, and started getting arrested for drunk driving as soon as he turned forty. He was on his second suspension, in March 1968, when he got into the car of a young man named Virgil Coonfare for the ride back to New Castle from Warren, Ohio. He was drunk, and so was Virgil.
Just after they set off, Virgil crashed into a car then drove off down a side street, going fast. He hit a utility pole. The car went off the road, into a ditch. The men were trapped inside, Glenn with a bleeding brain and ruptured organs. He died about an hour later. He was forty-two.
Virgil was twenty-one when he killed Glenn. He was sixty-seven the next time he killed someone—a seven-year-old boy who had been eating Cheetos on the front steps of his friend’s house on Winslow avenue when Virgil, out of his mind on depressants and painkillers, lost control of his pick-up. Virgil died a year later, on the morning of November 25, 2013, the first anniversary of the accident.
Sources: New Castle News (19 October 1948, “Perrotta-Neely”; 3 December 1965, “Grand Jury Indicts 4, Clears 3”; 18 May 1966, “4 Members Of Burglary Ring Sentenced In County Court”; 2 August 1966, “14 Driving Suspensions Are Issued”; 22 March 1968, “City Man Is Killed In Crash”; 27 November 2012, “Afternoon Turns Horrific With Death Of ‘Sweet Child’”; 10 December 2013, “Suspect’s Death From ‘Natural Causes’”; The Youngstown Vindicator, “Driver held in death of boy, 7, in New Castle”).
I do my best.
I am so happy to see another story posted.
Thank you .
They’re getting thinner on the ground as we come towards the end…
Is a book still in the works? It would be fantastic to have one!
An agent in the US asked to see a manuscript, but it’s been with him for a couple of months now, so I doubt anything’s happening with it. Sometime, no doubt!
I hope truly hope so! It’s such an unusual concept.
Alcohol and vehicles-bad combo!
Don’t drink and drive, kids!
Ugh. A deeply depressing instalment. Great to get a post from you though, Diarmid. For me the whole story is wrapped up in the photo, with the crooked bow tie, bruising and dazed expression on Glenn’s face.
Yes — he’s got the start of a nice black eye. And I think he’s got an early version of a classic 50s haircut — remarkable, considering it’s 1948. He must have been quite the thing.
Great writing, as ever. Thank you.
I find these images very moving. would you mind if I made paintings from them?
Please do! I’d be interested to see them, too.
That’s great thank you … there are quite a few I’d like to work from .
Wasn’t really sure where this was going when Glenn was killed early on.
The Google streetview image of the site of the kid’s death is haunting. It was taken around Halloween, a month before Virgil’s death and the first anniversary of the accident. There’s a memorial cross with flowers on the steps where the boy was playing. And the steps have been repaired. Life goes on. https://email@example.com,-80.3256935,3a,75y,328.12h,90.47t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sVLICFjqLxUrBIrMmp0UJkQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656
OMG. The broken steps. The bald patch of grass.
There’s no curb at all on that street.
That lil’ boy that was run down by Coonfare was my uncles grandson. A man w/ no license driving a company truck, sometimes its not just the perp, but also his enablers.