Edward "Kip" Fierro, the long-time swim coach at New Rochelle High School, was taken into custody a week ago last Thursday by New Rochelle police after he struck two vehicles in New Rochelle and left the scene of the accident. A DMV records check showed that although he had a valid Connecticut drivers license, his privilege to drive in New York had been suspended for failure to answer a summons.
Fierro was issued a 511-1a violation, an unclassified misdemeanor punishable by a fine of between $200.00 and $500.00, up to 30 days in jail, 0 points and a mandatory surcharge of $80 or $85. He was due back in court today.
New Rochelle police were called to the scene at 8:11 am on January 19th. Two drivers heading westbound on the North Avenue overpass were stopped at the yield sign at the intersection of the Elmer Miller Circle at Memorial Highway. Fierro, driving a 2004 Jeep, came up behind the two vehicles, sideswiping one and striking the rear of another, a 2001 Honda. Fierro's Jeep pushed the Honda across three lanes of traffic in the circle and onto the center grassy area of the traffic circle. The other vehicle did not suffer major damage and the drive was not hurt.
Fierro continued driving, as a New Rochelle police officer followed, before pulling over on his own at Lockwood Avenue and Warren Street. Fierro appeared disoriented and was taken into custody for leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident, according to police.
Fierro was taken into police custody and taken to police headquarters. Fierro, who has a history of medical issues, told police the incident may have been the result of his having a seizure. His condition was confirmed by police after a call was placed to his wife. Fierro was then transported to Sound Shore Medical Center. His property was returned to him and he was released.
The driver of the Honda, a teacher at Columbus Elementary School in New Rochelle, told police at the scene of the collision that she was experiencing neck pain. She was transported to Sound Shore Medical Center where she was treated and released.
Fierro has a history of medical problems due to a long-standing medical condition known as Arteriovenous Malformations or AVM. He has an ocular prosthesis in one eye.
Several years ago, Fierro suffered a severe stroke. After stays at Greenwich Hospital and New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center, he was diagnosed with a cerebral hemorrhage from arteriovenous malformations, snarled tangles of arteries and veins, which result from defects in the circulatory system which develop during embryonic development or soon after birth. Due to his AVM, Fierro suffered seizures when he was younger.
According to a 2009 article in the Burke Voice, a publication of the Burke Rehabilitation Center in White Plains, NY, Fierro required extensive rehab.
“When I was admitted to Burke for stroke rehab," said Fierro, "I couldn’t do anything without a lot of assistance. I couldn’t write the alphabet or my name. I couldn’t feel the left side of my face and my entire left side was weak. I couldn’t walk. I needed four people to help me.”
Fierro was discharged after completing extensive physical and occupational therapy.
The article notes that Fierro returned to his job as a swimming coach, that he is writing a book and that he is able to walk without assistance and drive a car.
In addition to coaching the New Rochelle High School team, Fierro is a coach with the Badger Swim Club which operates out of the pool at New Rochelle High School. The Badger Swim Club has been a family-owned business for decades and Fierro comes from a family of swim coaches.
According to the Badger web site, Fierro has been involved with the Badger program for over 40 years:
Head Age Group Coach Kip Fierro has been eating, sleeping and breathing Badger for forty years, first as an alumnus of John Collins and then as Badger Age Group Head Coach for over twenty-five years. He has been the Head Coach of the New Rochelle High School team for twelve years, was Head Coach at the New York Athletic Club for eighteen years and Head Coach at Coveleigh Club for three years. Kip has been coaching Top 16 nationally ranked swimmers for over twenty-five years. He has been the Age Group coach to numerous swimmers who have gone on to be World champions, Olympic champions, national champions and NCAA champions. He was two time Conference Coach of the Year and 2008 High School Coach of the Year. Kip himself was an All American Swimmer, National Qualifier, two time State High School Champion and Record Holder, and attended the University of Miami on a swimming scholarship. Having trained with world class swimmers and competed in countless regional and national competitions, Kip knows what it takes to rise to the challenge of competition and brings a wealth of knowledge of technique and competition to the Age Group program. “My goal is to motivate the kids, to inspire them to want to continue to be swimmers.”