A hall of fame football coach recently featured on NBC10’s High School Blitz won’t be on the sidelines when his team plays in the playoffs Friday, after he was charged with fleeing the scene of an accident while drunk.
Joseph Gallagher, 59, of Aston, Pennsylvania, is charged with driving under the influence of alcohol or a controlled substance, reckless driving and failure of duty to give information and render aid.
Gallagher, who coaches the Haverford High School Football team, was involved in a car accident at the intersection of Lincoln and 4th avenues in Prospect Park, Pennsylvania around 4 p.m. Saturday, according to an affidavit.
Gallagher allegedly fled the scene of the crash in a maroon Ford and was pulled over by responding officers on Chester Pike at Fairview Road in Ridley Township.
An officer then asked Gallagher why he didn’t stop after the crash, investigators said. Gallagher allegedly told the officer, “I messed up. I hit him and should’ve stopped. I messed up.”
In the affidavit, the officer stated he smelled a faint odor of alcohol coming from Gallagher. He also said he spotted half of a full open bottle of Piraat Belgian Ale in the vehicle’s cup holder.
Gallagher has a physical condition which prevented him from taking a roadside impairment test, according to the officer. The officer instead requested he provide a blood sample for alcohol content analysis.
Gallagher initially agreed to have a sample of his blood taken and was transported to Taylor Hospital, the officer said. Before he entered the hospital however, the officer advised Gallagher of his chemical test warnings, according to the affidavit. Gallagher then allegedly declined to have a blood sample taken and was transported to the Ridley Township Police Department for processing.
Officers have not yet revealed how badly the other person involved in the accident was injured.
Gallagher has coached the Haverford High School football team for 23 years and was recently inducted into the Delaware County Chapter of the Pennsylvania Hall of Fame. His team was profiled on NBC10’s High School Blitz last week. The team takes on Coatesville in the opening round of the District One Class AAAA playoffs Friday night. Gallagher will not be coaching his team during the game, according to a Haverford High School spokeswoman.
“Joe Gallagher has taken a leave of absence for personal reasons,” the spokeswoman said. “Jack O’Donnell is the acting head coach of the Haverford High School football team.”