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January 23, 2014 - 6:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama.
Earl Sprague

Earl Sprague, sentenced yesterday to 21 years in prison for child sexual abuse, will have a new attorney when he goes on trial -- possibly in March -- on a separate set of charges, including predatory sexual assault.

During an appearance today to set a trial date on the eight counts still pending against Sprague, attorney Fred Rarick told Judge Robert C. Noonan that it was apparent to him that Sprague no longer had confidence in him and that a new attorney should be appointed to represent the 42-year-old Alabama resident.

Noonan expressed some skepticism that Sprague really needed a new attorney, praising Rarick's ability as a criminal defense attorney.

"Mr. Rarick is one of the most experience criminal defense attorneys we have around here in handling very serious matters such as yours," Noonan told Sprague. "He worked very hard on this case. If there was a difference over strategy, that's not unusual."

Sprague told Noonan that he felt there was evidence that Rarick didn't bring out at trial that he thought should have been presented to the jury.

"I won't get into specifics, but there was a point in the trial where he said if we do this, they're (motioning toward the prosecution) is going to try and do something else," Sprague said. "We talked about it. I thought about it and then I said go ahead and he didn't go ahead and do it. None of it was brought up."

Noonan expressed concern that a change in attorney could delay the second trial, but after a little more conversation with Sprague and Rarick agreed to refer the case to the Public Defender's Office.

Sprague faces a trial on eight felony counts, including two counts of burglary, 1st, sexual abuse, 1st, criminal sexual act, 1st, aggravated sexual abuse, 1st, two counts predatory sexual assault, a Class II-A felony, and one count of assault, 1st.

Noonan set a trial date of March 24.

Sprague be back in court Jan. 30 to ensure a new attorney has been appointed and is working on the case and can be ready for trial on that date.

January 22, 2014 - 4:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama.
Earl Sprague

Convicted by a jury on 28 counts of sexual abuse, Earl Sprague will soon begin a 21-year prison term while still maintaining his innocence.

The 42-year-old Alabama resident was sentenced in Genesee County Court today by Judge Robert C. Noonan.

"It's a very sad circumstance, but the saddest part is that two kids have been victimized repeatedly over an extended period of time," Noonan said. "I do believe a serious sentence should be imposed over a lengthy period of time."

On the first three counts of sexual abuse the jury said Sprague did commit, Noonan gave Sprague seven years on each count to be served concurrently. On counts four through 17, again, seven years each, served concurrently, but consecutive to the first seven years. On counts 18 through 28, seven years each, running concurrent to each other, but consecutive to the first two groups of counts.

The three groups of seven-year sentences, served consecutively means Sprague will be locked up for 21 years, barring any time off for good behavior.

The sentence was the maximum available to Noonan under state sentencing guidelines.

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman told Noonan he would recommend Sprague spend the rest of his life in prison, if only that were an option for Noonan.

"It would be appropriate to send him to prison for the rest of his life, but that can't be done," Friedman said. "We will once again have to worry about what this defendant is going to do once he's out of prison. I would ask that you do everything in your statutory power to keep this defendant locked up for as long as possible as required by law."

Sprague will be on parole for 10 years following his release from prison.

Defense attorney Fred Rarick told Judge Noonan that his client had been prepared to make a statement in court, but after Noonan ruled that a television camera could record the proceedings, Rarick said his client informed him he would not make a statement.

"He can choose to make a statement or not make a statement," Noonan said. "This is a public courtroom and the presence of a camera only enhances the public nature of it to some extent. It's his choice."

Sprague made no statement.

The two young victims he was convicted of molesting had originally requested to appear at the sentencing and make victim impact statements, but neither appeared today. Instead, Assistant District Attorney Melissa Cianfrini read statements from both victims.

Rarick filed a notice of appeal and explained after court that he did so primarily to preserve his client's right to appeal his conviction. Rarick said it will be up to an attorney who specializes in appeals to review the transcript of the case and determine what if any issues might be proper for appeal to a higher court.

There could be an issue, Rarick said, with Noonan allowing the jury to hear evidence of Sprague's prior bad acts, including prior accusations of children molestation going back 30 years.

"My client respectfully disagrees with his ruling," Rarick said. "We thought he shouldn't let any priors in because it would take the jury's mind off what the real issues are."

From Rarick's point of view, those issues include an estranged wife who had motivation to keep Sprague from gaining custody of their children after she was accused of burglary and theft. According to Rarick, Penny Sprague made statements prior to Earl Sprague's arrest that she knew how a woman could get a man in trouble and that children could be convinced to make accusatory statements.

Rarick said there were never any accusations or concerns raised about Earl Sprague molesting these particular children until Penny Sprague became a suspect in a burglary.

Sprague will be back in court tomorrow because he still faces eight felony counts from another grand jury indictment, including two counts of burglary, 1st, sexual abuse, 1st, criminal sexual act, 1st, aggravated sexual abuse, 1st, two counts predatory sexual assault, a Class II-A felony, and one count of assault, 1st.

January 20, 2014 - 1:20pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Basom, crime, Oakfield, byron, Darien, Le Roy, Alabama, corfu, bergen.

James Mitchell, 35, of Le Roy, is charged with petit larceny. Mitchell was arrested following a months-long investigation by the Livingston County Sheriff's Office into reports of stolen co-payments at a doctor's office where Mitchell worked in Avon. The investigation took time, according to LCSO, because of lengthy billing cycles and victims coming forward. Mitchell was allegedly stealing co-pays as patients checked out at their physician's office. The investigation was conducted by Deputy Dan Rittenhouse, Deputy Ross Gerace, Deputy Steph Schroeder and Deputy Mike Yencer.

Kelly M. Zwolinski, 34, of Broadway Road, Darien, is charged with criminal possession of stolen property, 4th, and resisting arrest. Zwolinski was identified as a suspect in possession of a stolen horse saddle that was taken from a farm in Niagara County and an arrest warrant was issued. When Deputy Kevin McCarthy and Investigator William Ferrando attempted to place Zwolinski under arrest, she allegedly resisted arrest.

Darlene Ann Kingdollar, 51, of South Pearl Street, Oakfield, is charged with petit larceny. Kingdollar is accused of entering the 7-Eleven store in Oakfield while intoxicated and after she was denied the purchase of alcohol, she allegedly left the store with a can of beer without paying for it.

Bruce J. Brade, 33, of Galloway Road, Batavia, is charged with stalking, 4th, and criminal contempt, 2nd. Brade allegedly violated an order of protection.

Mark J. Price, 37, Township Road, Ashland, Ohio, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear for an alleged traffic violation in Batavia City Court. Price was aprehended during a traffic stop in the Village of Attica. Price was issued an appearance ticket.

Jeffrey A. Pionessa, 32, of Glenwood Drive, Attica, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and speeding in zone. Pionessa was stopped at 2:30 a.m. Sunday on Law Street, Batavia, by Officer Arick Perkins. Pionessa allegedly had a BAC of .11.

A 17-year-old resident of Trumbull Parkway, Batavia is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, and harassment, 2nd. The youth is accused of damaging the mobile phone charger of another person by throwing it against a wall and grabbing the arm of the alleged victim and pushing the person's face.

John K. Rolls, 34, of Mill Street, Batavia, is charged with two counts of forcible touching. Rolls is accused of forcibly touching a 17-year-old girl on Jan. 7. Rolls is incarcerated in the Genesee county Jail on an unrelated matter and was issued an appearance ticket.

Brad Strzelecki, 19, of Hunter Street, Bergen, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Strzelecki was reported at a location on Bank Street at 10:01 a.m. Jan. 13 when he was allegedly found in possession of marijuana by Officer Eric Foels.

Rodeny Lowell McKenzie, 49, of Weaver Street, Buffalo, is charged with petit larceny. McKenzie was located by Transit Police in Buffalo during a check-the-welfare interview and identified as a warrant suspect for allegedly stealing items from Kmart on Dec. 12.

Bryant William Hardtner, 28, of State Street Road, Batavia, is charged with unauthorized use of a motor vehicle. Hardtner is accused of taking a vehicle Sunday without the owner's consent.

Kimberly Diane Ribbeck, 27, of Genesee Street, Corfu, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, driving a vehicle with obstructed vision and no or inadequate plate light. Ribbeck was stopped at 2:33 a.m. Sunday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Michael Gerald Pernicano, 21, of Lake Road, Holley, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to signal and no plate light. Pernicano was stopped at 2:29 a.m. Saturday on North Byron Road, Byron, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Lena Marie Evans, 26, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny, two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance and possession of a hypodermic instrument. Evans was arrested for allegedly shoplifting at Kmart by Deputy Andrew Hale.

Carey Anthony Bedell III, 18, of Lehigh Avenue, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Bedell was arrested on Clinton Street Road, Byron, at 9:43 p.m. Friday.

Matthew R. Smith, 21, of Basom, is charged with forcible touching. Smith was arrested by State Police for an alleged incident reported at noon Thursday.

Mark A. Allison, 52, of Lockport, is charged with felony DWI and felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Allison was arrested by State Police following the report at 9:29 p.m. Thursday of a two-car accident at 372 Bloomingdale Road, Basom. One person was injured. The driver of the other vehicle was Alexander Shirira, 56, of Buffalo. No other details released.

January 17, 2014 - 9:43pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, Alabama.

A motor-vehicle accident is reported at 373 Bloomingdale Road, Alabama. Mercy Flight is called to respond and a landing zone will be set up at the parking lot of the Tonawanda Community Building. Alabama Fire Department is on scene along with Mercy medics and State Troopers.

UPDATE 9:51 p.m.: This accident also involves a 16-year-old male who was riding a bicycle. He is said to be disoriented and unaware of what took place.

UPDATE 9:54 p.m.: Mercy Flight #5 has landed.

UPDATE 10:03 p.m.: Mercy Flight is airborne and headed to Erie County Medical Center.

UPDATE 10:21 p.m.: Alabama fire is back in service.

January 15, 2014 - 7:24am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, Stafford, Alabama.

Angela Irene, 44, of South Grand Road, Medina, is charged with grand larceny, 4th. Irene was arrested as a result of reports on The Batavian and OrleansHub of a purse being stolen from a shopping cart in the parking lot of the Batavia Walmart and a gift card subsequently being used to purchase a cake at the Walmart in Albion. As a result of the publication of the surveillance photo from the Albion Walmart, the suspect turned herself in to local law enforcement. The Sheriff's Office also received numerous phone calls identifying the suspect. The case was handled by Investigator Kristopher Kautz and Deputy James Diehl.

Jillian E. Dibble, of Akron, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Dibble was stopped at 7:50 a.m. Sunday on Route 77 at Reynolds Road, Darien, by State Police.

Alexander E. Dills, 23, of Stafford, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, possession of a hypodermic instrument, unlawful possession of marijuana, criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, and aggravated unlicensed operation. Dills was arrested by State Police at 8:55 a.m. Saturday. No further details released.

Darrnell J. Barnes, 51, of Alabama, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Barnes was stopped at 7:42 p.m. Saturday on Alleghany Road in Alabama by State Police.

January 9, 2014 - 2:13pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, elba, Oakfield, fire, Alabama.

A house fire is reported at 2884 E. Shelby Road, between Burns and Crane roads. Fire is "in the wall with flames seen." Oakfield Fire Department is responding, along with mutual aid from Alabama, Town of Batavia and Elba.

UPDATE 2:17 p.m.: Upon arriving, the fire chief reports no fire seen.

UPDATE 2:21 p.m.: The chief is holding everything to equipment already in route. Cancelling Town of Batavia.

UPDATE 2:29 p.m.: Alabama and Elba units returning, in service.

January 2, 2014 - 7:49pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident, Alabama.

Investigators found no mechanical issues with a car that crashed on Ledge Road, Alabama, in August, and split in two after striking a utility pole.

The accident claimed the the life of a 10-year-old Batavia boy.

The findings are part of a final accident report filed in October and obtained today by The Batavian through a Freedom of Information Law request.

The driver, the boy's father, Shawn P. Wolcott, told investigators the day of the accident that he had taken the car into mechanics several times because of issues with the steering and that prior to the accident he felt the car wobble and heard a pop or a knock.

Deputy Nathan Balduf, certified by the state for post-accident mechanical inspections, thoroughly examined Wolcott's 2004 Chrysler 300 and found no mechanical deficiencies that would have contributed to the accident.

Sgt. Bill Scott, a lead investigator for the Crash Management Team, concluded in his report that all the evidence pointed to the sedan drifting off the road either because Wolcott fell asleep, became unconscious or was otherwise distracted.

The Chrysler's front passenger fender struck a utility pole on Ledge Road. "After initial contact," according to the report, "the vehicle rotated counter-clockwise causing the vehicle to split in half."

Wolcott, who was uninjured in the crash, exited the front half of the vehicle as soon as it came to rest, according to witnesses, and pulled his son, Shawn Jr., from the back passenger seat.

One person reported seeing somebody performing CPR on the child.

Shawn Jr., was flown by Mercy Flight to Mothers and Childrens Hospital in Buffalo. He died five days later.

Wolcott told investigators he was driving to the reservation to buy a carton of cigarettes.

The accident was reported at 8:18 a.m.

Two people -- including his estranged wife and a person on probation with multiple arrests -- reported to authorities that Wolcott had been partying the night before and consumed drugs and alcohol. Wolcott denied the accusation to investigators.

Deputy Lonnie Nati, a certified drug-use recognition expert, was the first deputy on scene and did not detect the odor of alcohol on Wolcott and observed nothing to indicate Wolcott had consumed any drugs.

Investigators were also told that Wolcott was transporting two bags of marijuana in the trunk of his car, but a thorough search of the vehicle turned up no cannabis, though baggies were found that may have contained marijuana (based on odor) at one time.

Wolcott did have a prescription for hydrocodone for carpal tunnel pain in his wrists and he told investigators he had taken a pill the morning of the accident, but he'd been taking the prescription for years without incident.

According to the report, within the three years prior to the accident, Wolcott had taken the car in for service or repairs at multiple local garages, including Monroe Muffler, Midas, Dunn Tire, Castilone Chrysler, Chesley Automotive and Zirbel Automotive.

One person at an automotive shop told an investigator that Wolcott treated the car "like it's his only possession."

Wolcott told an investigator that a mechanic at Castilone, where the car was taken in April, said that the balance was missing from the rack and pinion and that the rack and pinion would need to be replaced.

The repair, he said, would cost $1,200, which he couldn't afford.

Repair receipts obtained by investigators from Castilone mention nothing about any problem with the rack and pinion, though notes indicate that Wolcott did complain about the handling and steering of the car. Wolcott reportedly told a mechanic that the "left front wheel feels like it's going to fall off."

The right front caliper, front rotors and pads were replaced during that visit.

In March, 2010, Wolcott had the front sway bar links replaced at Chesley's.

The struts were replaced by Monroe in late August, 2010. Monroe did alignments on the car in early August, 2010, late August, 2010 and September, 2010. Chesley's did a wheel balance in October of that year.

January 1, 2014 - 10:25am
posted by Billie Owens in elba, Oakfield, fire, Alabama, east pembroke.

A possible chimney fire is reported at 6842 Fisher Road, Oakfield. Flames were seen shooting from the chimney, but no flames or smoke are showing now, says a firefighter. The residence has been evacuated. Oakfield fire is on scene. Mutual aid response was cancelled but units are asked to stand by in their quarters from Alabama, Elba and East Pembroke.

UPDATE 10:41 a.m.: Oakfield fire back in service.

December 30, 2013 - 7:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom, accident, Alabama.

A car has hit a building at 852 Bloomingdale Road, Basom, the Arrowhawk Smokeshop, and a person is reportedly unconscious.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 8:40 a.m.: Alabama back in service.

December 26, 2013 - 11:38am
posted by Billie Owens in Alabama, accidents.

A car reportedly rolled over and careened into water, of undetermined depth, just south of the Orleans County line on Route 63. Unknown injuries, but a witness reported one person trapped on the passenger side. Alabama fire and Mercy medics are responding along with mutual aid from Shelby, whose crew will be wearing water rescue gear. Mercy Flight is unavailable due to weather.

UPDATE 11:40 a.m.: About five people at the scene have been attempting to extricate two victims, who told them they had been in the water for two hours. A tow truck will try and pull the vehicle out, which is "completely upside down, only the back wheels sticking out of the water right now." Route 63 at Roberts Road will be shut down to southbound traffic.

UPDATE 11:44 p.m.: The incident is so close to the county line, but it's deemed to be just over the line in Orleans. Mercy medics from Genesee County have arrived along with Alabama fire.

UPDATE 11:50 p.m.: Both victims have been extricated and are inside the ambulance.

UPDATE 11:58 p.m.: At least one of the patients is being taken to the hospital in Medina.

UPDATE 12:06 p.m.: Dispatch is informed that Orleans County is in command of the accident scene and Alabama is assisting.

UPDATE 2:09 p.m. (by Howard): One person is dead as a result of this accident, the Orleans County Sheriff's Office has confirmed. The names of the victims have not yet been released, but the male occupant of the vehicle was pronounced dead at Medina Memorial Hospital. The female occupant is being treated at the hospital.

According to the OCSO, the vehicle was southbound on Route 63 at 11:35 a.m. when the driver apparently lost control. The vehicle crossed the center line and left the roadway on the east side of Route 63 and overturned, coming to rest in flooded swampland.

A Shelby Fire Department pumper pulled the vehicle out of the water and onto the roadway. Both occupants were extricated and transported by ground ambulance to Medina. 

The male occupant was pronounced dead at 12:31 p.m.

Deputy J.W. Halstead, OCSO, responded to the incident. He was assisted by sergeants D.W. Covis and G.T. Gunkler, and Investigator C.L. Black. State Troopers stationed at both Albion and Batavia also assisted at the scene. The incident remains under investigation by the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.

UPDATE 6:01 p.m.: The Orleans County Sheriff's Office has released the identities of the two people involved in the crash in the Town of Shelby. The driver of the 1998 Pontiac sedan is David M. Russo, 43, of Stafford, who died at Medina Memorial Hospital at 12:31 p.m. His female passenger was Lisa A. Stanley, 40, of Le Roy, who was treated at MMH, then transferred to Highland Hospital in Rochester. The press release from Orleans County Undersheriff Steven D. Smith concludes "While the incident remains under investigation, it’s apparent that weather and slippery road conditions were contributing factors."

December 24, 2013 - 8:25am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

When Colin Phillips returned to his Vermont home, he thought about how well his Muck Boots performed while he was stranded in the middle of a frozen swamp on the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

He thought about one of the firefighters who helped rescue him. That firefighter didn't have Muck Boots. His boots leaked. They filled with water. He was in danger of frostbite. That firefighter was airlifted out of the swamp before Phillips. The rescuer was rescued first.

So Phillips sent a letter to the Muck Boot Company and suggested maybe they could send a pair of Muck Boots, perhaps for free, to this firefighter.

Last night, that firefighter, Ryan Thompson, along with every other member of the Alabama Volunteer Fire Department, received a free pair of Muck Boots, courtesy the Muck Boot Company.

Phillips drove in from Vermont to help hand out the boots.

"I wanted to show my appreciation," Phillips said. "A lot of people, get rescued and you never hear from them again. I wanted these guys to know I appreciate the small town kind of life and how people are out here."

Alabama Chief Gary Patnode said the media recognition and the gift are a great morale boost for members of his department. It's nice, he said, to have their volunteer efforts recognized.

"Typically, since we're a non-transporting agency, we load somebody in the back of an ambulance and that's the last time we see them," Patnode said. "Unless (the patient) is related to one of the members, we don't get any kind of follow-up.

"This is a good thanks for what we do," Patnode said.


Thompson and Phillips

As soon as Thompson got his new boots, he put them on. "I'm sleeping in them," he said.

December 21, 2013 - 5:03pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, pembroke, Alabama, indian falls.

A kitchen fire is reported at the Flying J Travel Center on Route 77 in Pembroke. Nothing is showing, according to a responder, but the restaurant is being evacuated. He also says there are no flames and that the fire is probably electrical in nature and is in the ceiling.

Pembroke, Indian Falls and Alabama fire departments responding, along with a ladder truck from Akron.

UPDATE 5:12 p.m.: They are going to open up the ceiling tiles. The gas and electricity are shut off. A light tower will be put up so firefighters can see the roof. A rep from National Grid is requested. A thermal imaging camera is requested.

UPDATE 5:25 p.m.: Fire is out. Checking for extensions.

UPDATE 5:41 p.m.: "The roof is cleared." The public health department will be notified of the incident as required. A crew from Newstead is asked to stand by in Pembroke Fire Hall.

UPDATE 5:46 p.m.: Town of Pembroke Code Enforcement will be notified of the incident as required.

UPDATE 7:21 p.m. (by Howard): The Alabama assignment is back in service, but the restaurant remains close pending code enforcement clearance.

December 21, 2013 - 1:28pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, Oakfield, fire, Alabama.

A house fire with light smoke showing is reported at 32 S. Main St. in Oakfield. Mercy medics are on scene and Oakfield Fire Department is responding along with mutual aid from the Town of Batavia and the city's Fast Team. Alabama is asked to fill in at the Oakfield hall.

UPDATE 1:30 p.m.: Alabama is asked to reroute and go to the scene.

UPDATE 1:38 p.m.: National Grid is called to the scene. No ETA.

UPDATE 1:41 p.m.: A thermal imaging camera is requested.

UPDATE 1:45 p.m.: Elba Fire Police are called to shut down traffic at Orchard and Main, and at Main and South Pearl. The fire is knocked down. They are checking for extensions.

December 20, 2013 - 3:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Basom, Alabama.

A 49-year-old woman reported last week as missing is not missing, according to State Police.

According to NYSP, Joy Howard walked into a police station (the location or agency was not disclosed) and told authorities that she was not missing and she is in good health.

December 13, 2013 - 12:12pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama.

An Alabama man was convicted of child sexual abuse by a Genesee County jury this morning following a nearly two week trial.

Earl Francis Sprague, 42, of 1366 Church St., Alabama, was indicted by a grand jury on 28 criminal counts of sexual abuse as well as three counts of criminal contempt.

The jury returned guilty verdicts on those 31 counts. He was found not guilty of criminal solicitation, which stemmed from an allegation that he tried to hire a hit man to take out a witness against him.

Sprague still faces a possible trial on additional felonies contained in another grand jury indictment, including predatory sexual assault, two counts of first-degree burglary, first-degree sexual abuse, assault, 1st, and four counts of criminal contempt, 2nd.

Sprague was tried on charges that he repeatedly molested two children in 1997, 1999 and in 2001.

December 10, 2013 - 7:59pm
posted by Alecia Kaus in accident, Alabama.

The Alabama Fire Department is on scene at 5912 Knowlesville Road with a car partially submerged in the water.

The driver called 9-1-1 after the vehicle began to fill up with water after going off the road into the swamp.

Alabama fire units on scene say the victim has been extricated and other emergency personnel can come in non-emergency. The Shelby Fire Water Rescue unit will not be needed.


December 3, 2013 - 1:41pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, byron, Darien, Alabama.

These are the latest indictments issued by the Genesee County Grand Jury.

Patrick E. Sewar is indicted for first-degree sexual abuse, a Class D felony, for allegedly subjecting another person under the age of 11 to sexual contact on June 24 in the Town of Darien.

Saul D. Standsblack is indicted for second-degree burglary, a Class C violent felony, for allegedly knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in a dwelling on Bloomingdale Road in the Town of Alabama on Oct. 13 with the intent to commit a crime.

Michael B. Kropp is indicted for driving while intoxicated, a Class D felony, for allegedly operating a 1995 Ford on June 17 on Freeman Road and Ivison Road, Town of Byron, while intoxicated. In count two, he is further accused of aggravated driving while intoxicated, also a Class D felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .18 or more at the time. In count three, he is indicted for aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree, a Class E felony, for operating a motor vehicle at the time of the incident while knowing or having reason to know that his driving license was suspended, revoked or otherwise withdrawn, and the defendant was driving while allegedly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

December 2, 2013 - 5:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Basom, crime, pembroke, Alabama, corfu, bergen.

Dustin Michael Locicero, 29, of Gibson Street, Bergen, is charged with forgery 2nd. Locicero was arrested following an investigation into a complaint of a stolen check and its forged use at a location in the City of Batavia. Locicero was jailed without bail.

Thomas E. Newcomb, 42, of 27 E. Main St., Le Roy, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Newcomb is accused of striking a woman in the face with his hand during an argument.

Brandon David Gendron, 25, of Judge Road, Basom, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, uninspected motor vehicle and failure to keep right. Gendron was stopped at 11:25 p.m. Fridayon Fotch Road, Stafford, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Stephen Joseph Peters, 18, of Wyoming Road, Warsaw, is charged with petit larceny. Peters accused of shoplifting from Walmart.

David William Buchholtz, 54, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Buchholtz is accused of shoplifting from Walmart.

Harry Lee Flatt, 68, of Fruit Avenue, Medina, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to keep right and moving from lane unsafely.

Donald Anthony Irwin, 43, of Main Road, Stafford, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon. Irwin was allegedly found in possession of a metal knuckle knife following a property damage accident at 9:12 p.m. Thursday in the Walmart parking lot.

Michael J. Wall, 39, of Oak Orchard Road, Elba, is charged with criminal obstruction of breathing and endangering the welfare of a child. Wall was arrested following an investigation into an alleged domestic incident reported at 6:40 a.m., Nov. 23.

Christopher Brian King, 22, of Pearl Street Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. King is accused of ordering food at the Denny's in Pembroke and leaving without paying for the food.

Dana Robert Devin Cipra, 21, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Cipra was arrested following a traffic stop at 12:47 a.m. Thursday on Route 77, Corfu, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Danielle M. Stevens, 37, of Ford Road, Elba, is charged with petit larceny. Stevens was arrested after a check of video surveillance footage indicated she allegedly stole two vacuums from Walmart.

Robert Allen Norway, 40, of Lake Avenue, Rochester, is charged with violation of a Family Court order. Norway was arrested on a warrant out of Family Court.

November 25, 2013 - 10:35am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Alabama, corfu.

Patrick Raymond Krieger, 23, of Exchange Street, Akron, is charged with burglary 2nd, criminal contempt, 1st, menacing, 2nd. Krieger was arrested in the Town of Amherst after a brief foot pursuit by State Police, the Cheektowaga PD, Amherst PD and the Erie County Sheriff's Office. Krieger was turned over to the Genesee County Sheriff's Offices on charges stemming from an alleged incident reported in the Village of Corfu at 7:10 a.m., Friday. He was jailed on $30,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond.

Shannon L. Smith, 37, of 2 Goad Park, upper, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Smith was arrested following an investigation into a disturbance at 96 River St., Batavia.

Philip E. Wolfe, 58, of Alabama, is charged with petit larceny. Wolfe was arrested by State Police. No further details released.

Daniel T. Henning, 33, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Henning was arrested by State Police. No further details released.

November 25, 2013 - 1:23am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, hunting, outdoors, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

At 4:38 p.m., Bill Schutt, Alabama fire's assistant chief, is reminded the sun sets in three minutes.

"That's what I'm worried about," he says. "It's not just light. It gets colder."

His chief is out on an island in the midst of frigid water with a hunter who became stranded in the swamps of Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge on a day when temperatures dipped into the teens. One firefighter, who was with the chief, is at risk of frostbite after his boots filled with water while trying to reach the hunter.

It's too risky for the firefighters to walk out, even though they've located the hunter and he's in good health.

The hunter called for help at 2:30 in the afternoon. He started hunting at 12:30. He called for help, he said later, having spent an hour in the icy waters of the swamp tracking a deer he'd shot.

"At first the water wasn't too deep," said Colin Phillips, here from Vermont to hunt. "I was hopping from island to island out there and then it started getting deeper and deeper and I'm breaking through the ice. Finally, I reached an island and went about 50 yards and I couldn't go any further. I was exhausted."

His hands were freezing because he didn't have any gloves, but was otherwise appropriately dressed for the conditions. It was so cold that after his gun got wet it jammed with ice. He couldn't even fire a shot to alert rescuers to his location.

He was found with the help of a State Police helicopter and good tracking by Alabama Chief Gary Patnode.

As sunset neared, a hovercraft from Clarence Center returned from its crew's effort to reach the stranded hunter and the two firefighters. 

The sticks and logs popped nearly ever single floatation tube from around the boat. 

One of the crew members said that when they were about halfway to the location, the boat's stern took a nosedive into the water and that's when most of the damage was done.

The crew decided to be safe and make its way back to the shore.

"We realized, it's just a machine," he said. "It can be repaired."

As the sun's light wanes outside the command center, Jim Bouton, a coordinator with the Office of Emergency Management, learns that the weather had cleared enough for the State Police helicopter to return to the scene.

The helicopter isn't really equipped to hoist people from the ground, so the plan is for the chopper to hover right on top of the ice and pull one person at a time into the craft.

Bouton relays the plan to Schutt and looks skeptical.

"We need a plan C," he says.

A little later, scene commanders learn the helicopter from the Erie County Sheriff's Office will attempt the rescue. The two-man crew can deploy a hoist.

"I'm usually the type to remain calm and I was confident enough in our resources and our fire companies that I knew we were eventually going to get out," Patnode said after he returned safely to Casey Road. "We were already working on plans B, C and D."

When the rescue effort first started, Schutt noted, it seemed straightforward enough. Dispatchers were able to provide coordinates of the stranded hunter and he wasn't too difficult to find.

But getting him out safely proved to be harder than expected.

"The amount of water they had to go through, lightly frozen over, was the problem the hunter ran into in the first place," Schutt said. "Our firefighters could not have safely gotten back because they would have had to walk back through the water."

Alabama firefighters have all recently been through wilderness rescue training and Patnode had Thompson carrying a backpack equipped with what rescuers would need in a wilderness situation.

Except for a kit to start a fire.

"If I could have started a fire, I would have," Patnode said.

The idea of a nighttime rescue in the wilderness certainly carried an innate sense of risk.

"Any time you have a helicopter operating in the dark close to trees and people, it's definitely an elevated level of danger," said Andy Merkle, who worked the scene during most of the incident as operations manager.

His job was to keep an track of all the people and resources going in so they could be accounted for coming out.

"We want to make sure we don't come up with any more victims," Merkle said.

The first person rescued was Ryan Thompson, the firefighter with the cold feet. He was fine and was out walking around after a few minutes of rehab in an ambulance.

Thompson expressed nothing but confidence in his chief and his fellow firefighters. He said he never felt like it was a desperate situation.

"I knew it was our job and they would get us out some how," Thompson said.

Phillips was the next one brought back to the command post on Casey Road.

Upon his return, the demeanor of his brother and a friend who had been pacing the road for more than two hours went from fretful to joyous.

"You go from being absolutely terrified to utter rejoicing in the matter of two hours," said friend Matthew Laflair.

Laflair had some familiarity with the swamp area and knew what firefighters were up against.

"I know how tough it is to get back there, so to see the effort is good," Laflair said. "It's impressive to see a helicopter pulling some people out of here."

Patnode was the third person airlifted out of the swamp. He was also impressed by the effort of the Erie County pilot.

"I think he went above and beyond," Patnode said. "Maybe he went out of his comfort zone doing a night rescue like that, but he got the job done."

There were two other members of the Alabama team who got stranded in the woods. They were brought out by members of the Clarence Center Fire Department who were dressed in cold-water rescue suits.

In all, volunteers from fire departments in Genesee, Orleans, Erie and Niagara counties assisted in the rescue of Phillips.

"I owe them my life," Phillps said. "If they didn't come out and get me, I'd be dead tonight. I appreciate every second of it. They're great people."

Patnode, Thompson, Schutt, all said, "this is what we do."

So what can we say about that?

"I think you say 'Thank you,' " Schutt said. "I don't know what more you can say than that.

"These guys are out here, no paycheck," Schutt added. "They've been out here in the cold for hours, but it's something you do for your community. When you're part of a volunteer fire department, somebody calls for help, you go help. It's not something you complain about. None of these guys are going to complain about being out here cold and away from home for hours."

The initial post on this incident by Billie Owens contains a lot of details in chronological order of how the rescue went down. If you haven't read it, read it.

Bill Schutt, communicating with dispatchers early in the incident.

Patnode, center of the picture, after being airlifted from the swamp.

Top photo, Colin Phillips escorted to an ambulance after being rescued.

To purchase prints of photos, click here.




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