crime

Wednesday, April 26, 2017 at 3:40 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, drugs.

Complaints of drug activity at Bone Yard Auto in Dansville date back to 1997. On Friday, the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office, the New York State Police, and the DEA arrested three individuals on possessing and selling methamphetamine in Livingston County.

The arrests were made following search warrants at two separate locations in the county – one at the scrap yard in Dansville and the other at the home of one of the defendants in West Sparta.

kenneth_hoag_copy.jpg kurt_redance_copy.jpg
     Kenneth Hoag      Kurt Redance

Kenneth Hoag, 55, of Dansville, Kurt Redance, 26, of West Sparta, and Andrew J Culliton, 37, of West Seneca, were all charged with criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree (meth) and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree (meth), both are Class B felonies.

In addition to the charges in Livingston County, the three men, along with Brandie Schumacher, 37, of Rose, were also charged in U.S. District Court.

brandiel.schumacher.jpg andrew_culliton_copy.jpg
BrandieSchumacher   Andrew J Culliton

Schumacher was recently arrested in Wyoming County on drug charges following a traffic stop on Route 20A in Sheldon April 1. She was jailed in the Wyoming County Jail on $50,000 cash bail. 

In District Court, the four were charged with possession with intent to distribute and distribution of meth, and conspiracy to possess and distribute methamphetamine. The charges carry a minimum penalty of 10 years in prison, a maximum of life, and a fine of $10 million. Additionally, Redance and Hoag were charged with maintaining a drug involved premises. 

Redance also faces a charge of possession with intent to distribute and distribution of meth on a premises where a child was located. 

Assistant U.S. Attorney Katelyn M. Hartford says, according to the complaint, each of the defendants sold meth to a confidential source at the scrap yard, Redance’s home, and at a parking lot in West Seneca. Additionally, during at least one of the controlled purchases at Redance’s home, his 3-year-old child was allegedly present.

Redance, Schumacher, and Culliton are all being held. Hoag was released to home detention with electronic monitoring.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 12:13 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, Sen. Gallivan, government, crime.

Press release

The New York State Senate has approved eight bills aimed at tackling the heroin, opioid, and synthetic drug crisis. The measures address the evolving challenges presented by fentanyl, synthetic, and designer drugs, and help increase coordination among health care personnel to prevent future opioid overdoses and abuse. 
“One of our priorities this legislative session is to tackle the state’s heroin crisis,” said Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma). “No community and no family is immune from the devastating impact caused by heroin and opioid abuse. These bills, combined with the $214 million secured in this year’s budget, will support law enforcement efforts to combat the spread of these drugs and enhance programs designed to keep New Yorkers healthy and safe.”

Six bills target the increased use of synthetic and “designer” drug combinations that escape criminality through loopholes in existing laws. Gallivan co-sponsored the first five of the six bills, which include: 

    • Bill S933 adds new derivatives of fentanyl to the controlled substance schedule and increases criminal penalties for the sale of an opiate containing a fentanyl derivative. Fentanyl is a strong pain medication that is often combined with anesthesia to prevent surgery-related pain. However, it is increasingly being mixed with heroin and other drugs to produce a cheaper and more lethal product.

    • Bill S816 designates Alpha-PVP, also known as “Flakka” or “Gravel” as a controlled substance. Similar to bath salts and methamphetamine, use of this designer drug has been known to cause violent behavior, with side effects including nausea, vomiting, paranoia, hallucinations, delusions, suicidal thoughts, seizures, chest pains, and increased blood pressure and heart rate.

    • Bill S3518 classifies synthetic marijuana like K2, Spike 99, Spice, Yucatan Fire, Genie, Zohai and many others, as Schedule I controlled substances. These legal herb-like products are laced with a synthetic cannabinoid to produce a high similar to existing controlled substances, but with more dangerous side effects. Not only does the bill provide for the imposition of criminal sanctions on synthetic pot, but also makes it a felony to sell such products to a minor or on school grounds.

    • Bill S2722 bans the analog substances of scheduled controlled substances. By expanding the state’s ability to ban analog substances, state drug and law enforcement agencies are given another tool to combat the quickly moving world of designer drugs that simply “tweak” an existing scheduled substance in order to avoid criminal prohibitions.

    • Bill S658 adds a new synthetic opiate, U-47700 and commonly referred to as "Pink" to the schedule I opiate list. This inexpensive drug has spread in popularity across the United States and is reportedly eight times more powerful than heroin.
    • Bill S300 would designate Xylazine as a controlled substance due to recent instances of this veterinary drug being used to lace heroin. It has emerged as a new threat in the state's battle against the heroin epidemic because the heroin-Xylazine combination is so potent that it can take multiple doses of naloxone to revive an overdose victim, and even this regime is not guaranteed to be effective. Dealers are using this dangerous drug to “enhance” their products, but risks include a dangerous depression of the central nervous system, causing individuals to drift in and out of consciousness, as well as negatively affecting heart function.

Two other measures passed by the Senate will help promote information sharing to prevent the abuse of prescription and other drugs, among other benefits of health care coordination. 

They include:

    • Bill S2639 requires hospital and emergency room physicians to notify a patient's prescriber when a patient is being treated for a controlled substance overdose. The measure enhances the effectiveness of the Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) Registry when prescribing controlled substances by ensuring that vital medical information is shared among health care practitioners. The bill requires an emergency room or hospital practitioner treating a patient with an opioid overdose to consult the PMP registry and notify the patient's prescriber of the overdose. Without such notification of the overdose, it is very possible that the prescriber/practitioner would not know that the patient had suffered an overdose of the opioid.
    • Bill S2248 helps facilitate the exchange of health care information with hospitals, office-based surgery practices, and health care providers who accept walk-in patients not regularly seen by the provider. These practitioners would use and maintain an electronic health records system that connects to the local regional health information organization, aiding in the prevention of drug abuse by giving these clinics and urgent care centers the ability to see patient records and whether there is a history of drug use or prescriptions. Additionally, these clinics would add details of the visit to the patient’s records for any future medical treatment, thereby ensuring the patient receives appropriate care.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017 at 11:45 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Perry, Warsaw, Covington, Gainesville, Arcade, Castile.
joshua_blaskovits_mug_shot.jpg
  Joshua Blaskovits

Joshua D. Blaskovits, 35, of Huntsville, Ala., was charged April 14 with no turn signal, failure to keep right, driving while ability impaired by a drug, and aggravated driving while intoxicated – child in the vehicle. Blaskovits was stopped on Route 20A, Perry, after allegedly failing to signal a turn and his inability to maintain his lane of travel. Additionally, deputies say a 15-year-old was in the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop. Subsequently, he was arrested for aggravated DWI under Leandra’s Law. Blaskovits was taken to the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department and evaluated by a Drug Recognition Expert who determined him to be impaired by marijuana. He was put in Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 bond. He is due in the Town of Perry Court at a later date.

Gary J. Rupert, 46, of Arcade, was charged April 21 with two counts of criminal use of a benefit card and two counts of petit larceny following an investigation by the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office and the Department of Social Services. Rupert is accused of selling his SNAP (food stamps) card for cash although he did not actually have benefits available on the card at the time. He is due in Arcade Court June 15. 

Matthew Wendt, no age provided, of Warsaw, was arrested April 22 on a bench warrant issued by the Town of Warsaw Justice Court for failure to appear. Wendt was taken into custody at his home in the Village, after which he was arraigned and paid part of his fine. He was released on his own recognizance.

Kenneth J. Shearing Jr., 35, of Perry, was charged April 13 with felony tampering with physical evidence. He was put in Livingston County Jail in lieu of $1,500 cash bail. He is due in Lima Town Court at a later date.

Bryan M. Beach, 33, of Perry, was charged April 16 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. He is due in Avon Town Court at a later date.

Anthoney P. Passamonte, 22, of Warsaw, was charged March 31 with inadequate taillight, driving while intoxicated, and refusal to submit to a breath test. Passamonte was stopped on Route 19A, Castile, for an alleged broken taillight. Following a roadside investigation and field sobriety testing, he was arrested for DWI. Additionally, he refused a breath test. Passamonte was arraigned in the Town of Castile Court where his license was suspended pending a refusal hearing. He was put in Wyoming County Jail on $500 cash bail and is due in the Town of Castile Court at a later date.

Zachary J. Lathigee, 23, of Silver Springs, was charged April 17 with inadequate stop lamps and two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. Lathigee was stopped on Route 19, Warsaw, for inadequate brake lights. Wyoming County Sheriff’s deputies say, during the investigation two different controlled substances were found in his vehicle, neither of which were prescribed to Lathigee. He is due in the Town of Warsaw Court May 22.

Tammy J. Hill, 41, of Covington, was charged April 24 with speeding, driving while ability impaired by a drug, and driving while ability impaired by the combination of drugs. Wyoming County Sheriff’s deputies say Hill was stopped for speeding on Route 246, Covington. Following an investigation, she was arrested for driving while ability impaired by drugs. She was taken to the Sheriff’s Office and evaluated by a Drug Recognition Expert, who determined Hill to be impaired by multiple categories of drugs and unable to drive safely. She is due in the Town of Covington Court at a later date.

Ervin W. Delude Sr., 45, of Gainesville, was charged April 17 with unlawful possession of marijuana following a traffic stop on Route 19A, Gainesville. Delude, a passenger in the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop, allegedly turned over a small quantity of marijuana after deputies say they smelled the drug coming from the vehicle. He is due in the Town of Genesee Falls Court May 24.

Terry W. Davis, 35, of Perry, was charged April 17 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree, failure to keep right, and failure to change address. Davis was stopped on Simmons Road, Perry, after deputies say he failed to keep right. During the stop, he was allegedly found to have two active suspensions on his license. His vehicle was towed from the scene by Maher Brother’s Towing. He is due in the Town of Perry Court May 14.

Monday, April 24, 2017 at 2:15 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Attica, Perry.
nathan_burry.jpg
     Nathan W. Burry

Nathan W. Burry, 20, of Attica, was charged with criminal mischief in the third degree, a Class E felony, and criminal tampering in the third degree and reckless endangerment to property, both are Class B misdemeanors. The Attica Police Department responded to a report of damage to a 2007 Volvo tractor belonging to Walton Milk Hauling Inc. Officers say the damage occurred at an apartment building on Lincoln Avenue in the Village. Further investigation allegedly revealed a tenant of the apartment building, who says he had a long-standing dispute with the truck driver, damaged the vehicle. The truck driver reported several airlines, the wiring harness, brake lines, and an air bag had been cut and or damaged. Damages have been estimated in excess of $1,800. Burry was released on his own recognizance and released to the Wyoming County Department of Probation and Correctional Alternatives. He is due at 10 a.m. June 12 in the Village of Attica Court.

david_eck_jr.jpg
    David B. Eck Jr.

David B. Eck Jr., 24, no address provided, was charged April 22 with driving while ability impaired by drugs and driving while ability impaired by drugs combination. Attica Police say Eck was found asleep on Market Street, Attica, in the driver’s seat of his vehicle while it was running. Eck is due in the Village of Attica Court June 12. Attica PD was assisted by the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office.

Karin L. Rice, 28, of Perry, was charged April 20 with failure to keep right, driving while intoxicated, and DWI with a BAC of more than .08 percent. The Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office responded to a call of a vehicle off the roadway into trees on Route 20A, Perry. Rice allegedly told deputies she went off the roadway to avoid a deer. She and her passenger were not injured in the crash. Further investigation allegedly showed Rice was driving while intoxicated. She was taken to the Warsaw Police Department for a breath test, which deputies say was over the legal limit of .08 percent. She is due in the Town of Perry Court at a later date.

justin_dake.jpg
       Justin Dake

Justin Dake, 20, of Perry, was charged April 22 with operating a vehicle without headlights, no front plate, aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree, and driving while ability impaired by drugs. Perry Police say Dake was seen driving on Gardeau Road, Perry, without his headlights on. During the investigation it was allegedly found that he had a suspended driver’s license and was driving while under the influence of drugs. Dake is due in Perry Village Court at a later date.

Thursday, April 20, 2017 at 2:18 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Attica, Gainesville, Eagle, Portageville, Arcade.
mark_t._owens_mugshot.jpg
      Mark T. Owens

Mark T. Owens, 50, of Arcade, was charged April 20 with sexual abuse in the third degree. Owens was arrested following an investigation of an alleged incident that happened in the Town of Java. An order of protection was issued for the victim. The accused is due in the Town of Java Court at a later date.

An 18-year-old male, of Attica, and another 18-year-old male, of Alexander, were both charged April 18 with burglary in the third degree and criminal mischief in the third degree. The charges stem from an incident which occurred in the early morning hours of July 10 on Broadway Road, Alexander. Genesee County Sheriff’s deputies say the youths, who were juveniles at the time, entered an uninhabited residence and caused damage to it using paint and varnish. They were released under supervision of Genesee Justice. Both are due to return to court May 9.

Justin C. Spencer, 31, of Portageville, was charged April 15 with aggravated driving while intoxicated following an accident on Route 70 in Grove. New York State troopers say Spencer had struck a guide rail and then rear-ended another vehicle. Officers say that while interviewing Spencer, they detected an odor of an alcoholic beverage. According to the police report, standardized field sobriety testing was attempted, but had to be stopped for safety reasons. He was taken to the State Police barracks in Fillmore where he allegedly blew a BAC of .19 percent. He is due in the Town of Court Court on June 5.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 2:04 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Perry.
kenneth_shearing_jr_mug.jpg
Kenneth Shearing Jr.

On April 13 the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office received a complaint of a car driving all over the road on Interstate 390. Once the vehicle was located by deputies, a traffic stop ensued.

When the deputy approached the vehicle of Kenneth J. Shearing Jr., of Perry, and requested his license, a foil wrapper allegedly fell out of the driver’s wallet.

When the officer questioned what the wrapper was, he said Shearing opened the foil, which contained a Suboxone strip, then put the strip in his mouth and ate the evidence.

Subsequently, the 35-year-old Perry man was arrested and charged with tampering with physical evidence, a felony.  

Shearing was put in Livingston County Jail on $1,500 cash bail or $3,000 bond.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017 at 11:29 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Perry, Warsaw, Strykersville.

Heather A. Woodworth, 35, of Perry, was charged April 10 with disorderly conduct. She is due in Geneseo Town Court at a later date.

John W. Dill Jr., 52, of Grand Prairie, Texas, was ticketed April 17 for failure to keep right. Wyoming County Sheriff’s deputies say Dill was driving a tractor-trailer eastbound on Route 20A, Warsaw, when he fell asleep at the wheel. Subsequently, the semi left the roadway, going off the south side of the road, sheering off a utility pole. Although the cab of the vehicle was able to be driven from the scene, the trailer was damaged and had to be towed. No injuries were reported. Dill is due in the Town of Warsaw Court at a later date. Assisting at the scene included the Warsaw Fire Department.

Amanda R. Redden, 33, of Strykersville, was charged April 15 with speeding and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree. Redden was stopped, after deputies say she was seen speeding, on Folsomdale Road, Sheldon. During the traffic stop, it was allegedly found that her license had been suspended – for failure to pay a fine – out of the Village of Warsaw. She was released on her own recognizance and is due in the Town of Sheldon Court at a later date.

Monday, April 17, 2017 at 12:23 pm
posted by Howard Owens in Wyoming, crime, accident, news.

fargo.car-tree2016.jpg

nicolesullivanmug2017.jpg
      Nicole Sullivan

A 31-year-old resident of Wyoming has been arrested and accused making up information about a car-tree accident at 2:35 a.m. June 10 on Fargo Road, Stafford, where a disabled passenger was seriously injured.

Nicole Kimberly Sullivan, 31, of North Main Street, Wyoming, is charged with assault, 2nd, endangering the welfare of an incompetent or physically disabled person, falsely reporting an incident and operator leaving the scene of an accident with injuries. 

Sheriff's Office investigators say that following the accident, Sullivan was the actual driver of the vehicle, even though she initially told responders that driver had left the scene. Firefighters and deputies then conducted an extensive search of the area for the possible driver, both to locate the driver and out of concern the driver could be injured.

Later that morning, Sullivan admitted to deputies that she was the driver of the vehicle.

The passenger, Zachery W. Schwarts, 20, was transported by Mercy Flight to Strong Memorial Hospital.

Investigator Joseph Graff and Deputy Eric Meyer, who assisted in the investigation, assert that Sullivan failed to report the accident as soon as she was physically able to do so and that she failed to make timely notification of the need for medical assistance for the injured passenger.

Sullivan was also issued citations for driving left of pavement markings, unlicensed operator, aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, failure to notify DMV of address change, no seat belt, and unregistered motor vehicle.

Also assisting in the investigation, Sgt. John Baiocco.

Top photo: File photo.

Monday, April 17, 2017 at 10:14 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Sheldon, Java.

Blake D. Cooper, 20, of Java, was charged April 11 with possession of a hypodermic instrument, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, and driving while ability impaired by drugs. Wyoming County Sheriff’s deputies responded to the Red Apple, Route 78, Strykersville, for a report of a male subject that was passed out in the driver’s seat of a car in the parking lot. Deputies say, when they arrived Cooper was responsive. Additionally, police say there were three hypodermic instruments (syringes) along with suspected heroin baggies on and around Cooper in plain view. Medics from Strykersville Ambulance, checked him out for health concerns, after which Cooper signed off on any further medical treatment. He was put through field sobriety testing and allegedly failed. The accused was then taken to the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office, where he was evaluated by a Drug Recognition Expert, who allegedly found him to be under the influence of heroin. He is due in Sheldon Town Court May 22.

Monday, April 17, 2017 at 10:04 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Attica, Warsaw, Perry, Sheldon, Arcade.

The following inmates from State Correctional Facilities in Attica were in Wyoming County Court before Judge Michael Mohun April 12.

Jayshawn Williams was sentenced to one-and-one-half to three years in prison, and fees and surcharges. He was convicted of attempted assault in the second degree, a Class E felony as a second felony offender. The sentence is to run consecutively to his current term.

John Harris was sentenced to two to four years in prison on each count of two counts of attempted assault in the second degree, a Class E felony. He is also responsible for all fees and surcharges incurred. The sentences are to run concurrently with each other, but consecutively to his current term.

Ronald Montgomery was sentenced to seven years in prison, five years post release supervision, and fees and surcharges on the conviction of assault in the second degree, a Class D felony. The sentence is to run concurrently to his current term.

Rodney Webster was sentenced to one-and-one-half to three years in prison, and fees and surcharges on the conviction of conspiracy in the fourth degree, a Class E felony as a second felony offender. The sentence is to run consecutively to his current term.

Benedict Agostini had his case adjourned to April 24.

Jerry Gillard had his case adjourned to April 26.

Lindell Cox had his case adjourned to April 26 for a Huntley Hearing. A Huntley Hearing is a pretrial hearing in New York State and is requested for the purpose of reviewing the manner in which the police obtained statements from the defendant.

Wesley Kirkland was in court for motions. He pled guilty to attempted promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class E felony as a second felony offender. Sentencing is scheduled June 21.

Ricky Morris was sentenced to one-and-one-half to three years in prison, and fees and surcharges. He was convicted of attempted promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class E felony as a second felony offender. The sentence is to run consecutively to his current term.

Andrew Mott was in court for motions. The case has been adjourned to April 26.

Pablo Sanes was in court for motions. He pled guilty to attempted promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class E felony as a second felony offender. Sentencing is scheduled June 21.

Shaquor Smith Sr. was in court for motions. A Huntley Hearing is scheduled May 15. A Huntley Hearing is a pretrial hearing in New York State and is requested for the purpose of reviewing the manner in which the police obtained statements from the defendant.

Christian Manley had his case adjourned to May 17 for a Huntley Hearing.

The following were in Wyoming County Court before Mohun April 12 and 13:

Tylor Phinney, who committed a crime in Sheldon, pled guilty to attempted assault in the second degree, a Class E felony. Sentencing is scheduled Aug. 3.

Justin Stanbro, who committed a crime in Arcade, admitted to a violation of interim probation. He was sentenced on the conviction of burglary in the third degree, a Class D felony, and resisting arrest, to two-and-one-half to seven years in prison. The sentence is to run concurrently to his Erie County sentence.

Shawna Martino, who committed a crime in Attica, pled guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, a Class D felony, and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second degree. Sentencing is scheduled July 6.

Chester Harrington, who committed a crime in Perry, successfully completed interim probation. He was sentenced to three years probation, a $2,000 fine, and driver’s license revoked. He was convicted of driving while intoxicated, and operating a motor vehicle with a BAC of .08 percent or more.

Patrick Gugliuzza, who is accused of a crime in Warsaw, pled not guilty to welfare fraud in the fourth degree, and offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, both are Class E felonies. Motions are scheduled June 22. Bail was set at $15,000.

Courtney Brown, who committed a crime in Wyoming County, was in court for a SORA hearing. The decision has been reserved. Sex Offender Registry Act: Sex offenders are required by the SORA to verify their information in the Registry at specified intervals. There are three levels of sex offenders:  Level 1 (low risk of re-offense), Level 2 (medium risk of re-offense) and Level 3 (high risk of re-offense); risk level is set by a judge after a court hearing. After the hearing of a trial or the argument of a motion a judge might not immediately deliver a decision, but instead take time to review evidence and the law and deliver a decision at a later time, usually in a written form, thus reserve decision.

Friday, April 14, 2017 at 11:56 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, events, news, Warsaw, crime.

beanie_of_warsaw_fd-2.jpg

beanie_of_warsaw_fd-3.jpg

It’s been nearly five decades since the 1969 fiery crash on Route 20A – or as the road is known among the locals “the East Hill” –  that claimed one life and prompted the ban on tractor-trailers from traveling that route. Today, a large red sign over the westbound lane directs “trucks, buses and cars with trailers” to exit Route 20A a quarter-mile up the road, giving truck drivers an alternate route to Warsaw. 

Just last week, two truck drivers were charged, after driving down “the East Hill.”

Rowdy D. Schmidt, 47, of Portland, Tenn., was stopped on East Buffalo Street following an investigation on a hit and run that “took out” roadsigns on the East Hill. He was charged April 5 with logbook violation, operator leaving the scene of a property damage accident, failure to obey traffic device, and operator without a certificate of registration.

Harbans Singh Bedi, 36, of Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, was stopped on West Buffalo Street April 8 and charged with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree, logbook violation, failure to obey traffic device, and vehicle size violation. He was put in Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $1,000 cash bail or $2,000 bond.

Both men are due in court May 22.

Warsaw hasn’t seen a fire in the Village like the one on that September evening since 1969. Prior to that day, “the East Hill” was never limited to truck traffic – although it had been known as “dead man’s curve,” and “fruit salad.” Warsaw firefighters coined the road name “fruit salad” after one truck dumped its load of watermelon on “the West Hill” (Route 20A on the west side of Main Street), and another truck dumped its load of bananas on “the East Hill.” After which, Beanie says, the department ate bananas for weeks.

Today, there is a nine-ton weight limit on Route 20A west – based on the history of that section of road.

According to long-time Warsaw Fire Department member, past Warsaw Chief, and past President of the WNY Firemen’s Association, Francis “Beanie” Head, it was “one hell of a fire, I tell you that!”

“The only reason we only lost one life is because it was evening supper hour and all the families were home ready to eat – they were able to get out the back door of their houses… all four of those houses. Unfortunately for them they lost everything they had.”

Head, or Beanie as he is known, had just come home from work and was about ready to have supper with his family. His oldest daughter was celebrating her birthday and his family just sat down to eat.

“I hadn’t even taken a bite yet when I heard a big boom,” Beanie said. “I turned to my wife and said ‘I don’t like that. I’m headed for the car.’ My pager went off just as I was getting in the car, and what they had told me was there were four houses fully involved and a gas tanker was overturned and on fire on East Buffalo Street.”

Beanie says he wasted no time and sped off to the fire hall, driving through flames before he reached and parked the car at the station.

“After the fire, I caught hell for that from my wife, as it was a new car.”

According to reports at that time, the driver of the tractor-trailer had said he lost his brakes coming down the hill and lost control of the vehicle. He was able to escape the cab of the semi before it crashed – spilling 8,000 gallons of gas onto the road – and burst into flames. However, on its way down the hill and into the curve, the tractor-trailer hit a vehicle, subsequently killing the driver of the station wagon.

“We later found out he was a salesman working in this area.”

Beanie and fellow firefighter Bruce Brown were first to arrive at the department and on the scene with a pumper truck. However, the fire was so intense they were only able to get it as far as Short Street because of the flames.

Although firefighters started to arrive on the scene, Beanie was the only chief – second assistant chief – so the title of Chief in Charge fell on his shoulders.

“I had placed a call saying ‘This is Warsaw 5.0. I want a full turnout of all departments to Warsaw. I have four houses fully involved and a tanker still burning.’ I had no more hung up the mic when Wyoming 5.0 (Joe Lee at the time) called in and said they were ‘at the monument, where do you want us?’ They hadn’t waited for a tone-out. They just showed up.”

The Chief in Charge had directed Wyoming to the back of the houses for a water screen. (A water screen is an almost fan-like spray of water from a specialized nozzle. It's typically used to wet down an area that is not involved in the fire to keep it from burning.) When Gainesville Fire Department showed up, he sent them up Livingston Street to protect those houses.

“There was nothing we could do with the burning houses as they were fully consumed. We were just going to wet them down to protect the other houses.”

Every department in the county showed up, the Warsaw Village Police, Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department, New York State Troopers out of Warsaw, and from Genesee County, Geneseo Ambulance and Le Roy Fire Department. There were a total of 22 departments and approximately 300 men and women working the scene.

“We were working the best we could to keep everything else nearby from burning and the next thing I know, there’s a deputy at the stoplight …so nothing moved up our street. Come to find out afterwards, he was an Attica fireman and had his pager on his uniform, too. The Geneseo Ambulance came on the scene and told us they had just dropped a patient off at the hospital and asked if I’d like them to stand by on the scene to cover any squad calls. I have to say, in this county, it doesn’t matter whose fire it is, when help is needed, everybody comes.”

There was so much more power behind the fire because the gas from the tanker acted as an accelerant, fire officials say. The fire was so intensely hot, firemen tried to take cover behind roadsigns to keep some of the heat off them. 

Then, crews heard another explosion, but this time it was on Main Street – from a manhole.

“This told me what was happening. We had gas in the storm drains. It got into the drain inlets on Buffalo Street that run into Main Street, which eventually leads to the disposal plant (Department of Public Works on Linwood Avenue).”

When the truck overturned and slid down the roadway it not only caused sparks to fly, the tanker was split open, dumping the gas along the way. Subsequently, the fuel made its way into the storm drains – which were also tied into residential basement drains – and simply followed the path of least resistance, straight to the wastewater treatment plant on Linwood – two miles away.

“We knew it made its way to the disposal plant because we got a call saying there was gas burning down there. The fire also blew three manhole covers on Main Street so we had shut it down.”

Some of the old photos show the gas running down the street, Beanie says.

A call had been placed to one of the chemical plants in Buffalo for a gas neutralizing agent. The caller had been told they were loading 55-gallon drums onto a truck as they spoke.

“When the driver pulled into the fire hall, his hands were just shaking as he asked me where I wanted the chemical. I told him we were going to go up toward the fire and drop some in the inlets from there. The driver asked if he could take a break – and my wife was part of the Auxiliary and was getting food made for the guys, next thing she’s doing is coming out with a big cup of coffee for him. I think he spilled as much as he drank.

"So I said ‘man what did you do?’ He said ‘there were two state police cars in front of me and two behind me and I never stopped from the time I left that plant. This is a brand-new truck, I had that thing rolling about 80 (mph).’ "

Beanie “got guys together” and they began the arduous task of getting the 55-gallon drums to the storm drains and began dropping the chemical down the drain, so to speak. 

“It was damn scary. When we got all done, we stored the remaining drums in the fire hall.”

While several fire departments worked the scene between the train trestle and the Warsaw Fire Hall, Perry Center and Perry fire departments were just east of the trestle “hosing on that end” so the fire wouldn’t “walk up” the hill. There had also been a report of a fire on Oatka Creek on Main Street, to which Silver Springs Fire Department responded.

Firefighters were on the scene for more than 72 hours battling the blaze. The fire destroyed four homes but didn’t touch the others nearby due to the actions of firefighters watering down the other houses. Firemen also wetted the roofs of the burning homes to keep any sparks or flying tinder from reaching the other houses.

“The fire was burning all night. There was no sense in putting it completely out because it would have cost the homeowners a fortune to get everything cleaned up, so we were trying to help minimize the cost for the residents. At that point, there wasn’t anything salvageable…there was no way to rebuild anything that would may have still stood.”

Because the fire got into the brick and the cinder blocks of the homes, it had degraded them for continued use, thereby rendering them useless.

“My boss came by and even asked what they could do,” said Beanie, who worked for the State Highway Department. “I asked if he could have an operator with a grade-all in the morning to pull up to the basements and stir the stuff around so we could wet any hotspots.

“This whole town was very receptive to the work we had done. We had the respect of every citizen from this town. We had a stack of 'thank yous' from the members of the community. It was a mutual working of organizations that saved the village, really.” 

While crews were walking around checking all the houses and everybody on the street, Beanie says it was like attending a funeral, people were scared, yet they were glad it was over. There was a deep sense of sorrow for the four families who lost their homes…who lost everything, and for the salesman who died.

But as Beanie said, “It was a time when everyone came together as a community. It was a helluva three-day deal…I tell you that.”

At 86 years old, Beanie is still as active as he can be in the Warsaw Fire Department. As current Fire Chief Joe Cummins says, “He’s 4-foot-nothin’ in stature, but 10-foot-somethin’ in personality.”

“I enjoy this,” Beanie said. “If something serious happens, I mourn with them and I try to be there to back them up….and I always will be, as long as I can walk.”

beanie_of_warsaw_fd-4.jpg

beanie_of_warsaw_fd-5.jpg

beanie_of_warsaw_fd-6.jpg

beanie_of_warsaw_fd.jpg

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 12:46 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, budget, Warsaw.

Press release:

The New York State budget includes $180,000 for the Wyoming County Indigent Parolee Program. The funding will ensure that the program will continue to provide required defense services for parolees throughout the county.

"Communities with a high prison population, such as Wyoming County, face a huge financial burden in providing legal services and counsel to thousands of individuals going through the parole process,” said Sen. Patrick M. Gallivan (R-C-I, Elma). “The Indigent Parolee Program helps to protect local governments and taxpayers while ensuring parolees receive required legal advice.” 

New York State law entitles poor people facing parole proceedings to court-appointed counsel. The Indigent Parolee Program reimburses the mandated expenses incurred by localities providing the service, especially those with prisons in their jurisdictions.

“We are grateful for the successful efforts of Senator Gallivan in securing the funding necessary to run what is a state-mandated service for individuals who primarily are not county residents, but inmates at the two correctional facilities in Wyoming County,” said Norman Effman, Wyoming County public defender and executive director of the Wyoming County-Attica Legal Aid Bureau.

“Without Senator Gallivan’s efforts, this would be another unfunded mandate on Wyoming County. Because of his efforts, the state is rightly paying for a constitutionally mandated service that should be a state obligation.” 

Funding for the program is administered through the NYS Department of Criminal Justice Services.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 11:06 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, crime, Perry.
pietro_russo_mug.jpg
      Pietro Russo

Two people who were babysitting a 3-year-old were arrested April 10 after a Dollar Tree customer flagged down a Livingston County Sheriff’s deputy.

Heather Woodworth, 36, of Perry, and 41-year-old Pietro Russo, of Honeoye Falls, were arrested Monday of suspected child abuse following an investigation.

It is alleged that Woodworth and Russo, who were babysitting a 3-year-old girl, were in the Dollar Tree in Genesee Valley Plaza, Geneseo, when the child was asking for different toys on the shelves. 

Russo is accused of becoming upset at her, picking her up and dropping her on the floor, then walking away, leaving the child unattended.

He is also accused of walking several aisles away then returning back to the child and striking her numerous times while yelling and screaming at her.

Deputies say several customers at the store attempted to intervene but were verbally threatened by both Russo and Woodworth.

Russo was charged with felony assault in the second degree and endangering the welfare of a child. He was jailed in the Livingston County Jail on $5,000 cash bail or $10,000 secured bond.

Woodworth was charged with disorderly conduct for her inappropriate language and actions in a public place. She was issued an appearance ticket.

The child suffered bruising on her upper leg and was released to her mother’s care.

Geneseo Police assisted at the scene. A referral to Child Protective Services was also made by the Sheriff’s Department.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 12:20 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Perry, Castile.
jason_w._anderson.jpg
  Jason W. Anderson

A Castile man was arrested April 10 following an investigation into funds that he was receiving from Perry School in exchange for tutoring services. The New York State Police assisted Perry PD with the arrest of Jason W. Anderson on 25 felony counts including a crime of public corruption.

Anderson, 39, was charged with one count of grand larceny in the third degree, a Class D felony, and one count defrauding the government, and 23 counts offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree, both crimes are Class E felonies.

Officials say he was supposed to be tutoring a student from the Perry School District, but instead was receiving paychecks for no service rendered. It is estimated that Anderson allegedly took more than $4,000 from the school between October and March. 

He was put in Wyoming County Jail on $3,000 cash bail and $15,000 bond. He is due in court at 1 p.m. June 20.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017 at 11:55 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Perry, Arcade, Middlebury, Pike, Warsaw, Attica.

The following were in Wyoming County Court before Judge Michael Mohun April 6.

Roy Lawrence, who committed a crime in Perry, was sentenced to three years in prison with three years post-release supervision and $190 in restitution. He was convicted of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree.

Heidi Hopkins, who committed a crime in Perry, was sentenced to four years in prison with one year post-release supervision with Shock recommendation, and $280 in restitution. She was convicted of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony.

Jonathan Bucknam, who committed a crime in Perry, was sentenced to one year in prison with one year post-release supervision on the conviction of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, a Class D felony. He was also sentenced to an unconditional discharge and $6,278 restitution on the conviction of offering a false instrument to file in the second degree.

Shannon Garland, who committed a crime in Arcade, was sentenced to one year conditional discharge and $2,378.75 in restitution, which was paid in full. She was convicted of petit larceny.

Matthew Hadfield, who committed a crime in Middlebury, was sentenced on the conviction of driving while intoxicated, a Class E felony, to one to three years in prison with Shock recommendation, three years conditional discharge, and driver’s license revocation. Shock Incarceration Program is a six-month program that prepares young, nonviolent inmates for early parole release consideration. The program provides a schedule of rigorous physical activity, intensive regimentation, discipline, and drug rehabilitation. Hadfield was also convicted of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree and sentenced to an unconditional discharge.

John Pascarella, who committed a crime in Pike, was sentenced to five years probation, $655 restitution, and 150 hours of community service. An order of protection was also issued. He was convicted of burglary in the third degree, a Class D felony.

Matthew Kurtz, who committed a crime in Warsaw, pled guilty to attempted criminal sale of marijuana in the second degree, a Class E felony. Sentencing is scheduled June 29. An order of protection was also issued.

Brandon McCoy, who committed a crime in Warsaw, was arraigned on two violations of probation. The case has been adjourned to April 13 for a hearing. He is held without bail in the Wyoming County Jail.

James Otis, who committed a crime in Warsaw, pled guilty to criminal contempt in the first degree, a Class E felony. An order of protection has been issued and bail was set at $25,000 cash or $50,000 bond. Sentencing is scheduled June 22.

The following are from State Correctional Facilities in Attica who were in court before Mohun April 6 and 7.

Alexander Drake had his case adjourned to April 27 for a hearing.

Angel Cruz failed to appear. The case has been adjourned to April 27.

Chester Jones pled guilty to attempted promoting prison contraband in the first degree, a Class E felony as a second felony offender. Sentencing is scheduled June 21.

Monday, April 10, 2017 at 1:33 pm

wyco_sheriff_car_stock_photo.jpg

Tyler Mummery, 20, of Arcade, was charged April 8 with driving while ability impaired by drugs, unlawful possession of marijuana, uninspected motor vehicle, and broken windshield. Mummery was stopped on Route 39, Arcade, for an alleged broken windshield and expired inspection. During the stop, deputies administered a field sobriety test and say he failed and was subsequently arrested. Additionally, deputies say marijuana was recovered from his vehicle. Mummery submitted to a drug influence evaluation where a Wyoming County Drug Recognition Expert determined him to be impaired by marijuana. He is due in the Town of Arcade Court at a later date.

Jessica Rodriguez, 39, of Pike, was charged April 3 with unsafe backing and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree. Deputies say Rodriguez accidentally backed into a vehicle that was parked behind her on Center Street in the Village of Perry. During the investigation, it was allegedly found that her license was suspended for failure to answer a summons. No injuries were caused by the accident. She is due in the Village of Perry Court at a later date.

Timothy Woods, 52, of Warsaw, was charged April 5 with driving while intoxicated following a one-car accident on Chaffee Road, Java. Deputies say Wood was traveling east on Chaffee Road when he swerved to miss a deer, left the road and struck a tree. He was taken to ECMC, Buffalo, by Strykersville Ambulance and treated for minor injuries. He is due in the Town of Java Court at a later date.

Laycee K. Wilson, 29, of Gainesville, was charged April 9 with driving while ability impaired by drugs, driving while ability impaired by the combined influence of drugs, inadequate lights, criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree, and criminal possession of a hypodermic instrument. Wilson was stopped on North Main Street, Warsaw, for having a headlamp out on her vehicle. During the stop, deputies say she was found to be in possession of multiple glassine bags containing heroin, and three hypodermic syringes. Additionally, she is accused of failing standardized field sobriety testing. She was arrested and taken to the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Office. A Drug Recognition Expert evaluated Wilson and determined her to be impaired by narcotic analgesics (pain medication) and marijuana. She is due in the Village of Warsaw Court May 8.

Kailee R. Phillips, 27, of Lancaster, was charged April 8 with improper signal and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second degree. Phillips was stopped on Exchange Road, Attica, after allegedly signaling the wrong direction for a turn. During the stop. deputies found her to have five active suspensions on her New York State driver’s license. She was put in Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $1,000 cash bail or $2,000 bond. She is due in court today.

Friday, April 7, 2017 at 4:38 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, crime, government, Warsaw.

The bill that is drawing contention within the New York State Assembly and has become a major obstacle in state budget negotiations has also drawn heavy criticism from local law enforcement and the District Attorney’s Office.

The Raise the Age of Criminal Responsibility – “raise the age” campaign, as it has been known – had been a longstanding priority for the Democratically held NYS Assembly. New York State and North Carolina are the only states in the union to view 16- and 17-year-old defendants as adults. However, New York also provides for Youthful Offender (YO) status to those in that age group as well. The YO designation pertains to those who have been charged with a crime when they were at least 16 years old but less than 19. The status is granted at sentencing and is meant to relieve eligible youth from the onus of having a criminal record.

In January 2015, Gov. Andrew Cuomo outlined a proposal to raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18. According to New York State Bar Association President Glenn Lau-Kee, raising the age of criminal responsibility will help all children to embark a more positive path to adulthood; providing troubled teenagers with support and guidance can help them turn around their lives. Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O’Geen holds the position that raising the age of criminal responsibility is both irresponsible and reckless.

“The Democratically held NYS Assembly wants to send all crimes, including serious felonies, committed by people 16 to 18 years of age into Family Court, where there will be no convictions and more important no accountability. In addition, there will be minimal, if any punishment, and very limited (if any) public access to or knowledge of the proceedings,” O’Geen said.

“The governor has put his own Raise the Age bill inside his budget, so that either he has to take it out prior to the budget being passed or the entire budget process may be held hostage over this one major policy issue. A bill or policy shift of this magnitude should never be attached to a budget. It should be voted on as a stand alone issue with debate and input from people who actually know the facts.”

According to a The New York Times article Tuesday, the Raise the Age bill passed, but with some stipulations. Although Republicans in the Senate agree with the broader outlines to divert many of that group to Family Court, contention grew about the kind of charges that would still be serious enough to warrant Criminal Court.

According to the article, a summary of the legislation agreed to by the Democratic leadership of the Assembly states all misdemeanor charges faced by 16- and 17-year-old offenders would be handled in Family Court. A new youth section of Criminal Court would handle nonviolent felony charges, with many of those cases eventually landing in Family Court. However, those cases in which a district attorney can prove “extraordinary circumstances” would be excluded. Additionally, juveniles would be segregated from adults in county jails beginning in late 2018. 

Although violent felony cases would remain in Criminal Court, they would be subject to a three-part test: whether a “deadly weapon” was used; whether the victim sustained “significant physical injury”; and whether the perpetrator engaged in criminal sexual conduct. Without one of those factors, violent felony cases could also be moved to Family Court. 

As of Wednesday morning, the measure was put back on the table after more draft language dealing with incarceration was added to the bill. 

“The public and media need to know that if this new major policy shift becomes law and the effect of it causes a severe increase in crime that will be owned by the Democrats,” O’Geen said. “Also, anyone voting for this new law is clearly not serious about fighting the heroin epidemic.

“This law will create a space for 16- or 17-year-old gang members and drug dealers to deal drugs without any fear of consequences. The legislature has created that space and without trying to stop the sale of the heroin you are never going to stop people from dying. 

“This also signals a clear message that the legislature continues to be soft on drug dealers as they continue to classify the sale of drugs that are killing people faster in Erie County than are born as nonviolent. Fighting the heroin epidemic requires treatment for the user and punishment for the dealer. Without an all-of-the-above approach it will not end and people will die. This is very disappointing and shortsighted.”

At this point, the issue is being negotiated and nobody knows what a final bill, if any, will look like. Currently the District Attorney’s Association of New York, and the Chiefs of Police and the New York State Sheriff’s associations are opposed to these proposals as they are deemed as a “threat to public safety.”

With implications that are far reaching, how does the Raise the Age bill impact other laws on the books like SORA (Sex Offender Registry Act) and the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV)? Under the current proposal, driving while intoxicated with no injuries would be decriminalized and go through Family Court, officials say.

“First, you have to understand that these proposed laws are a solution in search of a problem. Ninety-five percent of those arrested aged 16-17 do not end up with a criminal conviction or jail time,” O’Geen said. “This is because New York State already has many mechanisms to divert and sort out young offenders, including compassionate prosecutors and judges. The people on the other side of this issue would have you believe that 16/17-year-olds charged with nonviolent crimes are being thrown in prison and saddled with a conviction for the rest of their life. This is false and misleading.” 

During a recent address by Gov. Andrew Cuomo at the Central Synagogue in New York City, he said “86 percent of the 25,000 16- and 17-year-olds incarcerated have been accused of committing nonviolent crimes.” 

A report by the Commission on Youth Public Safety and Justice states in part: 

Weekend Detention Stays Pending Arraignment Adult system processing is currently structured to arraign adults over the weekend in order for the court to make decisions about releasing individuals pending trial. However, this kind of court access is not available in the juvenile detention setting outside of New York City. Instead, youth arrested and detained as juveniles must wait until Monday to see a Family Court judge if they are arrested after the Family Court closes on Friday afternoon. These days are spent in a detention setting despite the fact that the youth may be released once they have the opportunity to see a judge. Shifting 16- and 17-year-olds to a delinquency model without implementing weekend arraignment for Family Court cases would therefore leave these youth more subject to incarceration than they currently are. 

According to the Department of Corrections and Community Services (DOCCS) on Jan. 1, 2013 there were a total of 54,865 inmates under custody in New York State Correctional facilities. Of that total, 2,390 inmates were under 21 years old – equal to 4 percent of the total prison inmate population in the state. 

By way of comparison, those between 30 and 39 years old make up the largest inmate population – 15,206 incarcerated (27.7 percent), with those between 21 and 29 coming in at a close second – 15,106 (27.5 percent).

Approximately half of the inmates under custody – 25,442 or 46 percent – were from New York City, 6,228 or 11 percent were from suburban New York (Nassau, Rockland, Suffolk, and Westchester counties), and 13,243 or 24 percent were from Upstate counties with a population of 50,000 or more (Albany, Broome, Erie, Monroe, Oneida, Onondaga, Niagara, Rensselaer, and Schenectady counties). The rest of the inmates – 9,951 or 18 percent – were from the remaining counties.

Of those incarcerated, 35,29 inmates (64.3 percent) are in prison on violent felony charges, while 19,574 (35.6 percent) are convicted of coercive behavior, drug offenses, property and other crimes.

According to a New York State Commission of Correction report, as of March 30, 2016 there were 15,308 inmates in correctional facilities operated by counties. Additionally, 9,674 inmates are from NYC DOCCS (Department of Corrections & Community Services), which operates correctional facilities in the five burroughs – Bronx, Kings, New York, Queens, and Richmond; and 52,245 inmates were incarcerated in State Facilities (NYS DOCCS) in the remaining 57 counties – for a total of 77,227 inmates statewide.

By way of comparison, on the same date in 2006, the county inmate population was 16,640, NYC DOCS 13,661, and the remaining 57 counties housed 63,300 inmates – totaling 93,601 inmates statewide.

Across the state in 2016, there were a total of 24,623 arrests of those who were between 16 and 17 years old. Of those arrests, 17,250 were for misdemeanors, 3,930 for nonviolent felonies, and 3,445 for violent felonies.

As of Feb. 17, 2012 Wyoming County arrests showed 16-year-olds accounted for 10 misdemeanors, two nonviolent felonies and zero violent felonies. By 2016, they accounted for eight misdemeanors, three nonviolent felonies and two violent felonies. During that same time, 17-year-old accounted for (2012 arrests) 19 misdemeanors, three nonviolent felonies and four violent felonies. By 2016, 17-year-olds were arrested for 11 misdemeanors, one nonviolent felony and one violent felony. 

Since 2012, the total number of 16 and 17-year-olds arrested for those crimes decreased from 38 to 26 in the county.

The same report shows – across the state (in 2016) there were a total of 24,623 arrests of those who were between 16 and 17 years old. Of those arrests, 17,250 were for misdemeanors, 3,930 for nonviolent felonies, and 3,445 for violent felonies.

“Everyone in our jail has been committed there by a judge including 16- and 17-year-olds,” said Sheriff Greg Rudolph. “Last year (2016) we had 738 inmates in the jail, of those inmates, 12 were between 16 and 17 years old. It’s a very small population and I don’t think judges are committing 16- and 17-year-olds to jail on a regular basis. Judges take their age – the option of youthful offender status – into consideration upon arraignment. Not only that, they are like everyone else. They are represented by an attorney at arraignment, just like everyone else. They get due process, just like everybody else. I don’t see a big need to shift that. And when it comes to funding, who is going to pay all these transports, the new court or an addition to the current court? Who’s going to pay for all this?”

Anytime a juvenile younger than 15 years old has to be housed, they can to be house anywhere around the state, and oftentimes, the juvenile needs to come back to Family Court the following day. Rudolph says it takes two officers to take the accused to a proper facility, and the same to bring the accused back to court.

“It is an unfunded mandate and it’s being included in the budget process which is ridiculous,” Rudolph said. “This is a major policy shift for the state and shouldn’t be included in the budget process. It should be in a regular legislative session where it can be debated, and the pros and cons can be weighed, and come up with a solution that maybe the District Attorneys Association is looking at…I think there is a better way to do this than try pushing it through at the last minute in the budget.” 

The dozen 16- and 17-year-olds housed in the Wyoming County Jail last year were separated from the rest of the adult population, says Rudolph. The State Department of Corrections already mandates prisoners in that age group be housed in a separate portion of the jail than the adult population. While youth prisoners have already been housed separate to the adult general population, an executive order passed in December 2015, called for the removal of all minors from state prisons and into juvenile facilities.

Additionally, as of the same date, the governor offered executive pardons to New Yorkers convicted of nonviolent crimes at ages 16 and 17 who have been crime free for a minimum of 10 years since their offense. For individuals who receive this pardon, the New York State Office of Court Administration has stated that it will restrict public access to criminal history records, meaning that they will not be available to private employers, landlords or other companies that seek this information. For more information, click here

“We are already doing it (separating youthful inmates),” Rudolph said. “I don’t see a need why there should be a major change in the policy if we are already doing it. It’s not a matter of the system being broke.”

“In New York State, every first-time offender who is charged with a misdemeanor between the ages of 16 and 18 is granted youthful offender status automatically,” O’Geen said. “These cases are handled in criminal court but are done so in private. When the youth is granted this status his/her conviction is converted to a YO adjudication and the case is then sealed and they no longer have a conviction. Under the current law victims have a say and they are entitled to restitution while the defendants can face accountability with things like community service, counseling, testing, supervision, curfews and in rare cases some local county jail time.

“If a 16 to 18 year old is charged with and prosecuted with a felony, the YO status is still available but that is determined solely by the judge. I can tell you that the system already takes into account the fact that young adults sometimes make bad decisions and the system gives them every opportunity to be held accountable for their current acts without being punished forever.”

Many of the individuals may be in prison because a significant prior criminal or family court history or they may be in prison is because they were determined to be a major risk to the public, i.e. a seller of heroin or cocaine (even though the state assembly considers selling heroin to be a non-violent crime), officials say. 

“Ask the family members who have lost a loved one to a heroin overdose if selling heroin is a non-violent homicide,” O’Geen said. “There should be no such thing as a non-violent homicide in New York State.”

Anyone with any experience with Family Court knows sending thousands of additional criminal cases into Family Court is not going to solve anything, members of the DA’s Association say. They do not have the capacity for a “400 percent” increase in cases and it would require huge increases in funding. There are family court judges who are also against this proposal because they know they cannot handle the influx of cases. Since criminal prosecutors do not prosecute cases in family court there will be probation officers and other family court attorneys who will be tasked to take on these cases without the proper training and/or experience.

“The big thing is the fact that as a prosecutor, doing this 17 years, we continually go to training every year and are required to. We handle this (criminal cases) on a daily basis. We are experts in our field, just like those in Family Court are expert in theirs. With youth being sent over to Family Court, they will be handled by Family Court attorneys who know very little about criminal law, sex registration as it relates to SORA and the like. That’s the biggest structural issue with them going to Family Court.”

When a juvenile is arrested they meet with the Probation Department and the decision is made there whether the case will go to Family Court without any input from the victims, judges or prosecutors. Should the Raise the Age bill pass, the same would hold true for 16- and 17-year-olds. The DA says the proposed bill will have more of an impact on the state as a whole than here in Wyoming County.

“We don’t have a large population of 16- and -17-year-olds that commit felonies,” O’Geen said.

Some members of the DA’s association suggest an easier solution – raise the YO age from 19 to either 21-25. I personally support rising the YO age to 21,” O’Geen said. “This will cover more young adults who have that one time indiscretion, it keeps the cases in the criminal courts where they belong and it costs nothing to implement. This proposal also fulfills the promise to ‘raise the age’ so any political promises can be kept at least to some extent. If New York State made youthful offender treatment mandatory for all offenses say for example for anyone under the age of 21, but included a provision that if they get into more trouble the conviction is reinstated, it would save many youth from the onus of a conviction while not sacrificing the safety of our communities. There would be basically no cost and no possible downside, but a huge upside for both youthful offenders and the safety of communities.”

Some members of the DA’s association also support Adolescent Diversion Parts (ADPs). These are separate criminal court cases where the courts and prosecutors deal with the 16, 17 and 18 year olds based upon the needs and issues with that age group (similar in nature to Treatment Courts for addicts or Veteran Courts for veterans). These special courts may or may not be a good fit for all counties due to lack of staffing and resources but for some counties who currently have ADPs they are finding success with these programs.

“Even with the DA’s Office cut right out of it, we still have to run an investigation,” Rudolph said. “We still have to present an investigation as best we can, so instead of it going through the DA’s Office, it will go to the County Attorney’s Office and through Family Court that way. 

“When it comes to interviewing juveniles it does put more rules into place. You have to interview in a certain spot, the parents need to be notified right away…those types of things and can hinder an investigation and slow it down to a halt. When you are talking about a shoplifting or something like that, is it a big deal? No. But if you are talking something big in a school or something like that and you need to get on top of it right away, yes, it will have an impact.”

Under either the assembly proposal or the governor’s proposal, crime victims would be shut out of the process completely. In a recent case, Wyoming County had some youth damage local houses and cars with spray paint. They were handled in criminal court and given YO so their convictions were sealed and they were ordered to pay restitution. Under the proposed laws, the victims would have no chance of getting any restitution and they would have to bear the brunt of paying their deductible and worry about their insurance premiums rising. 

“In the hypothetical case where a 17 year old rapes a child under the age of 11, the victim or victim’s family (under the proposed laws) would have no right to be heard at sentencing. They would not be entitled to have a victim advocate to inform them of the processes and procedures. These victims would also be reliant on untrained family court personnel to bring them justice as the family court attorney’s usually are only experts in family law and not criminal law. It takes prosecutors years of training and experience to handle complicated violent crime cases. Then there is the issue of Sex Offender Registration and victim notification? Orders of Protection? This issue intertwines so many other ancillary issues within the criminal system it cannot and should not be negotiated by three people in a room.

“There are some very inexpensive solutions that would have a far greater impact on the issue of concern. If we could just stop the ego train and talk to those actually involved on the front lines they could learn so much and not make devastating mistakes for generations to come.

“Just because someone else…just because there are 40 people jumping off the bridge, should we go too when there’s nothing wrong than staying on the bridge?” O’Geen said. “The percentage is small, the number of people is small…I don’t think the system is broken, but again, we can only give the numbers for Wyoming County.

“The drug cartels and the like are certainly going to use these 16- and 17-year-olds to do their bidding because they can bean count and say ‘well we know you’ll be going to Family Court and you’re going to get compensated and there will be no risk.’ That… next to the current opioid issue? I don’t see how you can talk out both sides of your mouth when you say we’re going to get tough on this, when it’s just all talk. They aren’t doing anything, and then you get a policy like this and it goes in the opposite direction. This is clearly a solution in search of a problem.”

UPDATE 7:38 p.m.: With the passing of the state budget, the Raise the Age of Criminal Responsibility bill has also passed.

See related: Many of the Senate's top priorities reached in the state budget

Friday, April 7, 2017 at 12:03 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, Perry.
ashley_king.jpg
      Ashley King

Ashley King, no age provided, of Dansville, was charged April 3 with: aggravated unlicensed operator of a motor vehicle in the first degree, a Class E felony; unlicensed operator of a motor vehicle; and driving while ability impaired by drugs. Perry Police received a call of a female passed out in a vehicle in the Rite Aid parking lot, North Center Street, Perry. Officers say they  were able to wake King, but became suspicious of possible drug activity. She was given a series of field sobriety tests, which she allegedly failed and was arrested for DWAI – drugs. King was taken to the Perry Police Department and evaluated by a Wyoming County Drug Recognition Expert, who determined she was under the influence of drugs. She was put in Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $1,000 cash bail.

Friday, April 7, 2017 at 11:01 am
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, news, crime.

Press release:

The New York State Police announce a statewide crackdown on distracted driving as part of April’s National Distracted Driving Awareness Month. The crackdown, called Operation Hang Up, is a special enforcement effort to step up patrols and checkpoints targeting drivers on electronic devices from April 6 through 10.

While tickets for cell phone use continue to decline, the proliferation of smartphones have caused texting tickets to rise every year since 2011.

April traditionally marks the start of the spring driving season. In order to minimize tragedies as the traffic volume increases, State Police and local law enforcement agencies will be cracking down on distracted driving, along with other vehicle and traffic law infractions.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, nationwide in 2015, 3,477 people were killed in distracted driving crashes and an estimated 391,000 were injured in motor vehicle crashes involving distracted drivers. In addition, according to a study conducted by the Institute for Traffic Safety Management and Research, in 2015, 160 persons were killed and more than 33,000 persons were injured in crashes in New York that had "driver inattention/distraction" reported as a contributing factor. The same report noted that 21 to 22 percent of police-reported fatal and personal injury crashes had "driver inattention/distraction" reported as a contributing factor each year.

"Cell phone use and texting are responsible for a significant proportion of traffic crashes, injuries and deaths. If you're texting, you're not driving,” said New York State Police Superintendent George P. Beach II. “While the New York State Police enforces New York’s hand held cell phone and electronic device laws at all times, Troopers will crack down on violators during the Operation Hang-Up campaign."

Troopers will be using both marked State Police vehicles and Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) vehicles as part of the operation in order to more easily identify motorists who are using handheld devices while driving. CITE vehicles blend in with every day traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.

During the April 2016 campaign, State Police issued more than 18,000 tickets, including more than 2,000 tickets for distracted driving. The tickets written were a combination of talking on a cell phone without a hands free device, texting, or using an electronic device while driving.

Current New York State law includes the following penalties for distracted drivers:

    • For a first offense, the minimum fine is $50 and the maximum is $200;

    • A second offense in 18 months increases the maximum fine to $250;

    • A third offense in 18 months results in a maximum fine of $450;

    • Probationary and junior drivers face a 120-day suspension of their license for a first offense, and one year revocation of their permit or license if a second offense is committed within six months.

The campaign is funded by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee.

Thursday, April 6, 2017 at 12:25 pm
posted by Julia Ferrini in Wyoming County, crime, news, Warsaw, Perry, Gainesville.

Curtis Washington II, 35, of Buffalo, was arrested March 31 on a warrant issued by the Village of Warsaw Justice Court for failure to pay a fine. Washington was located in the City of Buffalo and returned to the Village court. He was released to the Probation Department.

Dakota Hendrickson, no age provided, of Gainesville, was charged April 5 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the third degree, unlicensed operator of a motor vehicle, and a traffic infraction. Hendrickson was stopped on Lincoln Avenue in the Village of Perry. He was released on his own recognizance.

Jonathan Bucknam, 36, of Perry, was charged April 5 with aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in the second degree and unlicensed operator of a motor vehicle. Bucknam was stopped on South Main Street in the Village of Perry. After running a license check, deputies say his license has been suspended since 2005 – five suspensions on three dates. He was put in Wyoming County Jail in lieu of $2,500 cash bail.

Cory Dahl, no age provided, of Medina, was charged April 4 with aggravated harassment in the second degree. Dahl is accused of sending threatening messages to a village residence. He was picked up by the Medina Police Department on a warrant out of the Village of Perry. He was released on his own recognizance. Additionally, an order of protection was issued for the victim. He is due in Perry Village Court at a later date.

Pages

Subscribe to

Calendar

S M T W T F S
 
 
 
 
 
 
1
 
2
 
3
 
4
 
5
 
6
 
7
 
8
 
9
 
10
 
11
 
12
 
13
 
14
 
15
 
16
 
17
 
18
 
19
 
20
 
21
 
22
 
23
 
24
 
25
 
26
 
27
 
28
 
29
 
30
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Copyright © 2008-2016 The Batavian. Some Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy | Terms of Service
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license.
Contact: Howard Owens, publisher (howard (at) the batavian dot com); (585) 250-4118

blue button