By RICK REMSNYDER
A little more than four months before Plattekill Police Chief Joseph Ryan crashed his patrol car in New Jersey last September while visiting relatives that eventually led to a one-month suspension, the Town of Plattekill’s top cop was involved in another incident with his town vehicle in the Village of Goshen.
According to a police report from the Village of Goshen obtained by the Southern Ulster Times, two officers while sitting on patrol in the wee hours of April 30, 2022, witnessed a woman later identified as Michelle Towle exit her car and kick the rear bumper of a vehicle parked on West Main Street in Goshen.
After observing a possible criminal mischief incident, the police initiated a traffic stop and spoke with Towle who was sitting in her car with her keys in her hands and the vehicle turned off.
When asked by police why she kicked the vehicle parked in front of her, Towle said she was waiting for her boyfriend, who she identified as Joseph Ryan, at a local restaurant called Brew Goshen for 40 minutes. Towle said when she learned that Ryan was at the nearby New Street Tavern, she went there to ask why he left her waiting at the other establishment.
After encountering Ryan at the New Street Tavern, she told police the duo got into a brief argument. Towle stated she asked Ryan, “Where have you been been? I’ve been waiting for 40 frigging minutes.”
According to Towle in the police report, Ryan responded, “You don’t get to talk to me like that.”
Following the exchange, Towle said she went outside and kicked the vehicle belonging to Ryan.
The Goshen police checked the vehicle and couldn’t see any damage. After running the plates on the car that Towle kicked, the information came back that it belonged to the Plattekill Police Department.
Police then asked Ryan to leave the bar and questioned him about the incident that occurred at 1:19 a.m., according to the police report.
Ryan told police he didn’t want to discuss the altercation between him and Towle other than to claim that she was the aggressor.
Police completed a Domestic Incident Report (DIR) and attempted to give it to Ryan, but he refused to accept it. He was advised to call for a ride and refrain from using his vehicle.
Police aided Towle in calling for an Uber and remained on the scene until she left.
No charges were filed against Ryan or Towle.
The Town of Plattekill suspended Ryan on November 30 for one month without pay following his crash in New Jersey with his police vehicle.
Ryan crashed his 2021 Ford Explorer police car into a light pole trying to avoid another vehicle that had merged into his lane during a trip on September 1 to visit relatives in Toms River, N.J.
The cost of repairs to Ryan’s car were estimated to be $12,500.26, according to an insurance claim.
When the accident came to light, Ryan maintained that under terms of his contract he can travel out of Ulster County and has traveled extensively in his vehicle since being promoted to police chief in 2007.
Ryan confirmed to the Southern Ulster Times Sunday that the incident had occurred, but he denied that Towle was his girlfriend.
“It was a nothing incident and I didn’t do anything wrong,” Ryan said. “There was a person I worked with for over 25 years who was retiring and I stopped in (the New Street Tavern). This person (Towle) was observed kicking my car by police while I was inside.”
Ryan said he had worked previously with Towle for many years.
She thought I was supposed to be at a place where I was supposed to meet her with some friends and I didn’t show up on time,” Ryan said. “So, she got mad and kicked the car. She didn’t try to cause any damage. We’re not boyfriend-girlfriend. I’ve just known her for the longest time. There shouldn’t be any domestic incident.”
Supervisor Jennifer Salemo also declined to comment about the incident on Sunday.
Following its investigation of the September crash, the Town Board voted 5-0 to suspend Ryan without pay for a month following an executive session at a special meeting on November 29. The action was revealed in minutes that were made available at the Town Hall prior to the board’s regular December 7 meeting.
Following the meeting, Salemo said Ryan accepted the suspension.
“He understands the position we’re all in,” Salemo said. “It’s unfortunate it came to this. It’s the end of one chapter.”