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Darien

July 23, 2011 - 12:36pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Darien.

A Sheriff's Deputy is stuck on Sumner Road in Darien after his patrol car had mechanical problems and caught fire. He's fine. A tow truck is responding and another deputy is sent to pick up the stranded motorist.

July 23, 2011 - 10:14am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien.

The following arrests were made in connection with the Motley Crue concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Friday.

Ricky I. McAllister, 24, of 2nd Avenue, Albion, Pa., is charged with trespass. McAllister allegedly refused to leave the concert venue after being told to leave many times. He was jailed on $350 bail.

Ryan J. Vanandel, 25 of Russ Road, Grimsby, Ontario, Canada, is charged with disorderly conduct. Vanandel allegedly urinated in public. He was released on $100 bail. 

Thomas S. Ashby, 27, of Wexford Place, Webster, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Ashby is accused of pushing a security guard while being ejected from the venue. 

Matthew A. Rodak, 38, of Jerico Road, Bergen, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Rodak is accused of shoving a security guard while being ejected from the venue. 

Christopher M. Jensen, 37, of E. Water Street, Waterloo, is charged with trespass. Jensen allegedly entered the concert area after being ejected and told not to return.

Jacob A. Steger, 30, of Buffalo Road, Alleghany, is charged with disorderly conduct. Steger allegedly fought with concert security.

Regy M. Root, 36, of Coneflower Drive, West Henrietta, is charged with trespass. Root allegedly returned to the concert area after being ejected and told not to return.

The following people received citations for allegedly consuming alcohol under age 21.

Geoffrey R. Buckert, 20, Henry Trail, West Henrietta
A 16-year-old, of Duxbury Road, Rochester
Dylan D. Scott, 18, of Long Meadow Drive, Rochester
Joseph B. Devlin, 18, of Indian River Line Road, Indian River, Ontario, Canada
Ryan J. Devlin, 20, of Division Road, Indian River, Ontario, Canada
Gregory D. Watts-Barr, 20, of Kildare Road, Peterborough, Ontario, Canada
William J. S. Towns, 20, of Center Road, Lakefield, Ontario, Canada

July 22, 2011 - 11:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien, darien lake theme park.

Two weeks after a disabled Iraq War veteran fell to his death from the Ride of Steel at Darien Lake, the ride was reopened shortly after a late afternoon press conference. The park's manager refused to answer questions about what ride operators said about their interaction with Sgt. James Hackemer.

What did they ask and what was said? Local and regional reporters tried at least six times to get answers and failed. General Manager Christopher Thorpe said he wouldn't "speculate" on what transpired on the ride's boarding platform.

"I don’t want to speculate as to what they knew or didn’t know, nor do I want to speculate as to the thought process of Sgt. Hackemer," Thorpe said.

Reporters told Thorpe they didn't ask him to speculate. They wanted to know what ride operators actually said about what happened July 8.

"That part of our investigation will remain confidential because it’s speculation," Thorpe insisted. "I don’t want to speculate on what was said or done, or what was behind the thought process of those individuals on that ride because I don’t know."

Earlier Thursday, the NYS Department of Labor issued two citations to Darien Lake Theme Park, placing the blame for Hackemer's death on improperly trained operators. The DOL said that operators were unfamiliar with the safety requirements of the Ride of Steel.

Even so, Thorpe maintained today that the operators had been trained.

"Our employees are trained and certified in the rules for the Ride of Steel ride, but for reasons that we will never fully understand, Sgt. Hackemer was allowed on the coaster," Thorpe said.

He emphasized that the Ride of Steel is mechanically sound and that Darien Lake has a long track record of operating rides safely.

"More than 35 million guest since 1964 have come to Darien Lake," Thorpe said. "This is the first ever ride-related death. As a native Western New Yorker, and as a father myself, I can assure you there is nothing more important than the safety of our guests."

Darien Lake has initiated enhanced training and safety procedures.

All 15 staff members who work on the Ride of Steel were "re-certified" in the safe operation of the ride, ensuring, Thorpe said, a comprehensive understanding of its restrictions and rules. The operators will be thoroughly tested verbally, in writing and through practical exams by auditors on the correct rules and procedures of the Ride of Steel, as well as the other rides in the park.

An safety auditor position has been created.

And while both the entrance and the exit of all rides had signs outlining safety rules -- and the Ride of Steel had an audio warning for guests that included a warning about physical disabilities -- new signage has been added with a safety message specifically for riders with disabilities.

"We have worked methodically with the Department of Labor to ensure this will never happen again," Thorpe said. "To that end, we’ve looked at our existing policies and procedures and enhanced our training to include recertification, increased audits and then to ensure increased information for people with disabilities."

Before boarding a ride, guests with disabilities can pick up a pamphlet outside the ride that explains the physical requirements for all rides. The information is also now posted on the Darien Lake website.

The operators were all 18 years of age or older, Thorpe said, but he wouldn't discuss them in any detail citing privacy concerns. He declined to answer any questions about whether they are still employed by Darien Lake or whether they were disciplined.

Meanwhile, WGRZ reports that somebody is preparing for a possible lawsuit in the case because a prominent Buffalo law firm contacted the news station asking for footage related to the story. A legal expert told WGRZ that the request indicates either somebody is preparing to file a site or, if Darien Lake hired the firm, the theme park is preparing to fight a lawsuit.

July 22, 2011 - 8:19pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Darien.

A garbage fire is reported on Broadway near Tinkham Road in Darien. Darien Fire Department is responding.

UPDATE 8:20 p.m.: The fire is said to be very small and not likely to "go anywhere." But Darien is responding to investigate.

July 18, 2011 - 1:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Oakfield, Darien, Stafford.

Frank Nichols Vitagliano, 28, of Luther Road, Silver Springs, is charged with a felony count of DWI, refusal to take a breath test and consumption of alcohol in a motor vehicle. Vitagliano allegedly drove past officers at the front gate of the Buffalo Federal Detention Center on Federal Drive and entered the parking lot. Vitagliano's vehicle was stopped and detained by several detention center officers. Vitagliano was jailed on $1,500 bail.

Randy L. Sanfratello, 41, of 3322 W. Main St. Road, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Sanfratello is accused of failure to appear in Batavia City Court and was arrested on a warrant.

Rebecca L. Santiago, 25, of 5955 Main Road, Stafford, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation. Santiago is accused of failure to appear in Batavia City Court and was arrested on a warrant. She was jailed on $250 bail.

Brandon M. Maldonado, 22, of 35 Maple St., lower, Batavia, is charged with criminal trespass, 2nd. Maldonado was arrested on a bench warrant related to his criminal trespass, 2nd, charge out of Batavia City Court. Maldonado allegedly violated probation and failed to report to Genesee County Jail on June 25 as directed by the court. Maldonado had been sentenced to intermittent jail time. Maldonado was released after posting $500 bail.

Matthew R. Hernandez, 18, of 129 State St., Batavia, is charged with menacing, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Hernandez is accused of displaying a knife in a threatening manner toward a young child during an alleged incident at 7 p.m., Friday.

Mark Laney, 31, of S. Pearl Street, Oakfield, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Laney was reportedly observed operating an ATV at 9:46 p.m., Saturday, in a parking lot at 49 S. Pearl St., Oakfield. Upon investigation by Deputy Howard Carlson, Laney was found to allegedly be driving drunk.

Amanda Le Carlacci, 20, of East Eden Road, Eden, is charged with possession/consumption of alcohol by a person under age 21. Carlacci was cited during an investigation at 10:20 p.m., Saturday, into a report of an underage drinking party at 710 Broadway Road, Darien.

Amber Marie Williams, 20, Broadway Road, Darien, is charged with possession/consumption of alcohol by a person under age 21. Williams was cited during an investigation at 10:20 p.m., Saturday, into a report of an underage drinking party at 710 Broadway Road, Darien.

Anibal Rodriguez, 55, Brayton Street, Buffalo, is charged with forcible touching. Rodriguez is accused of grabbing the intimate parts of a woman while at Darien Lake. Rodriguez was jailed on $500 bail.

A 17-year-old of Dean Road, Depew, is charged with petit larceny. The youth is accused of stealing a carton of Marlboro cigarettes valued at $59.50 from the Arrowhawk Smoke Shop on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

July 15, 2011 - 1:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Darien, Stafford.

Mark D. Tooley, 28, of Main Road, Stafford, is charged with a felony count of DWAI-Drugs, felony aggravated unlicensed operation and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. At 2:28 p.m., the Sheriff's Office received a report of a red Dodge Caravan being driven erratically on Westbound Route 33, Bergen. The vehicle was located driving on Route 33 in Stafford and observed crossing a double solid center line and weaving within its own lane. The car was stopped and Tooley was charged with the offenses listed above along with criminal impersonation, 2nd, for allegedly giving a false name and date of birth to a deputy and driving left of pavement markings. Tooley was was jailed on $25,000 bail.

Steven Keith Snyder, 46, of Westside Drive, Chili, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to reduce speed and refusal to submit to breath test. Snyder was arrested during an investigation into a property damage accident reported at 12:02 a.m. Thursday on Walker Road, Darien, by Sgt. Brian Frieday.

Earl Shateek Anthony Lockhart, 18, of East Main Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Lockhart is accused of shoplifting from Kmart on June 21, but he could not be apprehended that day. He is accused of stealing $54.23 in merchandise. Lockhart was jailed on $1,000 bail.

July 14, 2011 - 9:07am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, darien lake, Darien.

The following arrests were made in connection with the Kid Rock concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Wednesday.

Richard W. Wilson, 16, of Lemunyan Hill Road. Wilson is charged with assault, 2nd, resisting arrest, disorderly conduct and sale of imitation drugs. Wilson allegedly sold an imitation drug and then fought with deputies. A deputy was injured during the scuffle, suffering numerous cuts on his forearm, requiring several stitches. Wilson was jailed on $20,000 bail. The injured deputy is Youth Officer Chris Erion.

David T. Costrino, 50, of Brown School House Road, Holley, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Costrino was allegedly found in possession of Ecstasy, hallucinogenic mushrooms and marijuana.

Austin G. Costrino, 25, of Brown School House Road, Holley, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and unlawful possession of marijuana. Costrino was allegedly found in possession of Ecstasy, hallucinogenic mushrooms and marijuana.

Travis M. Queary, 28, of 7038 Texas Road, Croghan, is charged with arrested for trespass, disorderly conduct and unlawful possession of marijuana. Queary allegedly refused to leave the concert venue after being ejected. He then allegedly caused a disturbance in the campground area and during the investigation of that incident was allegedly found in possession of marijuana.  

Tara M. Victor, 32, of Juniata Place, Buffalo, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and possession of a controlled substance not in original container. Victor allegedly possessed a controlled substance in an unmarked bottle with out a prescription.

Joseph G. Marchese, 49, of Ladner Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Marchese allegedly punched a security guard while being escorted from the venue.

A 17-year-old of Hulberton Road, Holley, is charged with disorderly conduct. The youth allegedly caused a disturbance in the parking lot. The person was jailed on $250 bail.

A 17-year-old of Allen Road, East Concord, was charged with trespass. The youth allegedly returned to the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Kelly L. Prue, 40, of Strathmore Circle, Rochester, is charged with disorderly conduct. Prue allegedly spat on a passing employee.

Burt T. Lyon Jr., 46, of Wehrle Drive, Lancaster, is charged with petit larceny. Lyon allegedly stole a display sign.

The following citations were issued for allegedly possessing alcohol under age 21:

Samuel J. Kroter, 20, of Church Street, Barton
Korey D. Hunsinger, 20, of Cole Hill Road, Nichols
Zachary K. Spaulding, 20, of Grove Street, Angola
Graig G. Leone, 20, of Grove Street, Angola
Cassondra M. Duckman, 20, of University Avenue, Atlanta
Christopher W. Moody, 19, of Cainal Lane, Grand Island
A 16-year-old of Hulberton Road, Claredon
A 16-year-old of Ridge Road, Holley
A 16-year-old of Vanderbilt Avenue, Niagara Falls
Matthew Soto, 20, of 20th Street, Niagara Falls
Joshua J. Clark, 18, of 12 C Street, Niagara Falls
Carleigh M. Preisch, 19, of 20th Street, Niagara Falls
Alexander J. Kaempf, 20, of Willow Ridge Lane, Lancaster
Tyler D. Guarasci, 18, of Williamsburg Lane, Lancaster
Chantal R. Ellis, 20, of Richland Road, Rochester
Kara M. Morris, 18, of Wendhurst Drive, Rochester

July 13, 2011 - 10:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien, darien lake theme park.

Current update: 12:42 p.m.

Despite warning signs for patrons and training of employees regarding certain people with physical disabilities not being allowed on the Ride of Steel at Darien Lake, Sgt. James Hackemer was able to embark on the rollercoaster.

Hackemer should have been able to see a warning sign prior to boarding the ride that said patrons must have two legs, and the employee training manual mentions in more than one place that people with specific disabilities cannot be allowed on the ride, according to Sheriff Gary Maha.

“Darien Lake violated their own policies and procedures by allowing him to get on this ride,” Maha said.

Maha presented the findings of Sheriff's Office investigators at a press conference in Batavia this morning.

Hackemer, who lost both of his legs -- one leg was amputated up to his pelvis -- to a roadside bomb in Iraq, died at Darien Lake on Friday after being ejected from a seat at the front of the ride's red train.

Operators at the Ride of Steel were well aware of Hackemer when he boarded the ride and knew that he didn't have legs, Maha said.

The operators -- typically teenagers -- had no explanation for why they violated Darien Lake Theme Park policy by allowing Hackemer to board the ride, Maha said.

The ride rules, which are posted at both the entrance and exit, read "For the restraint devices on this ride to fully and safely engage, guests must have two legs and be within a certain range of size and physical dimension. In addition, guests must have sufficient body strength and the complete use of a least one arm and hand to hold the grab bar. No guests may ride holding anything or with artificial limbs attached."

The ride's exit ramp, in compliance with the American With Disabilities Act, serves as the entrance for disabled patrons. Hackemer boarded the ride after coming up that ramp. According to Sgt. Steve Mullen, Hackemer would have passed the sign to board the ride.

When Hackemer was ejected, his body was thrown forward and then struck the front of the train. At that point, Hackemer's body was thrown clear of the train and the tracks and landed on a grassy area below the train's third hill, which is on the Route 77 side of the ride.

"With the amount of force of the ride, he didn’t have the physical attributes necessary to be on the ride," Maha said.

Like many theme park rides, the rollercoaster has automated cameras near the end of the ride which takes pictures of patrons that can later be purchased. The picture of Hackemer's car, according to Maha, shows an empty seat with the lap bar still down and the safety belt still buckled.

"He just came out of his seat," Maha said.

Maha emphasized that the ride is safe. It was inspected the Department of Labor in May and again following the accident and no mechanical problems were found.

"I would get on the ride," Maha said. "It is safe ride."

Hackemer's nephew helped the Gowanda resident into the ride and was sitting next to him in the front car.

"There was very little discussion between the ride attendants and Mr. Hackemer or his nephew (while he as getting on the ride)," Mullen said.

There's no indication that Hackemer was in any trouble during the ride prior to the ride's third hill.

Maha described the nephew as "in shock" when investigator's interviewed him after the accident.

Darien Lake provided grief counselors to employees, Hackemer's family and any patrons who sought help the night of the accident, Mullen said.

The Ride of Steel has two trains -- a red one and a blue one -- and each is comprised of eight cars that hold four people each. The red train Hackemer was on was not full, so only about 24 people where on the train at the time of the accident.

Because ride attendants did not hold all of the riders at the location following the accident, investigators have only been able to interview those riders who have made themselves known.

While investigators would have liked to have talked with all the riders, Maha said that the few investigators could interview gave consistent reports of what they saw.

As the ride pulled into the boarding area, riders were screaming and yelling, according to Mullen, making it very clear there had been an accident and that a rider had been thrown from the train.

The accident has been investigated by both the Sheriff's Office and the NYS Department of Labor. The DOL's investigation is not entirely completed, but DOL officials met with the Sheriff's investigators yesterday to go over their findings.

The Sheriff's Office investigation was aimed primarily at determining if there was any criminal liability in the death of Hackemer and the investigation, after consultation with District Attorney Lawrence Friedman, concluded the death was accidental. Criminal charges are unlikely.

July 13, 2011 - 8:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, darien lake, Darien.

The following arrests were reported in connection with the Vans Warped Tour at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Tuesday.

Eric C. Page, 20, of DeGroff Road, Nunda, is charged with trespass for allegedly allegedly jumping a fence to enter the venue without a ticket.

Matthew F. Abbruzzi,  20, of Christopher Way, Hawley, Pa., is charged with false personation and possession of alcohol under age 21. Abbruzzi allegedly gave a false name to police while in possession of alcohol. Abbruzzi was released on $200 bail. 

Elena M. V. Johnson, 17, of Parkside Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with false personation and possession of alcohol under age 21. Johnson allegedly gave a false name to police  while in possession of alcohol. Johnson was released on $100 bail.

After the jump, the names of individuals cited for allegedly possessing alcohol under age 21.

July 12, 2011 - 6:15pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien, darien lake theme park.

Sheriff Gary Maha met briefly with a couple of members of local media and announced that the Sheriff's Office will conduct a press conference at 10 a.m., Wednesday, to discuss the investigation into the death of James Hackemer at Darien Lake Theme Park.

Maha declined to discuss findings from the investigation until tomorrow.

Officials from the Sheriff's Office reportedly met this afternoon with investigators from the Department of Labor.

Hackemer was ejected from the Ride of Steel at Darien Lake on Friday.

July 12, 2011 - 5:28pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Attica, Darien.

Veterans lined the funeral route this morning for Senior Airman Kyle J. Schunk, 23, of Darien, who died in a motorcycle accident July 5 in Louisiana.

The funeral was in Attica.

Schunk was a Class of 2007 graduate of Alexander High School and a jet engine mechanic on B-52 bombers. 

He was buried at Forest Hill Cemetery in Attica.

Photo submitted by a reader.

July 12, 2011 - 11:33am
posted by Howard B. Owens in charity, alexander, Darien, Pavilion, Bethany.

Matt Mondoux, a resident of Grand Island and an Iraq and Afghanistan veteran, is walking for Lou.

Mondoux, who passed through Genesee County yesterday, is walking the width of New York, all the way to Yankee Stadium, in order to raise money for research into Lou Gehrig's Disease.

"When you see a bunch of people who aren’t getting the kind of help you think they deserve, you realize they need somebody who isn’t directly effected by the disease to help out," Mondoux.

Lou Gehrig's Disease wasn't something Mondoux paid much attention to until a friend was diagnosed and he started doing a little research.

He said reading the blogs of victims raised his awareness and concern for people who have been afflicted.

"Reading up on it, I got kind of emotionally attached," he said. "It was kind of sad that even though I’m a New York Yankee fan, I didn’t know exactly what Lou Gehrig’s Disease was."

Mondoux served 10 years in the Army, but works now at a Seneca-Niagara casino. While he said his employer has been exceptionally supportive of his walk, the 14 days he's taking for the trek is an unpaid leave of absence.

People along the route have already been incredibily supportive, he said.

While he stopped in Bethany and spoke with a reporter, somebody drove up and handed him $2, apologizing that he didn't have more money with him.

A guy walking down the road in a Yankees uniform gets a lot of attention, Mondoux said.

Once he arrives at Yankee Stadium, Mondoux will attend a game using donated tickets. He hopes to be able to get all of the Yankee players to sign his jersey.

If he can raise $2 million, he said, he would like to donate the jersey to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown to help raise awareness of Lou Gehrig's Disease.

"I'll even give them my lucky hat," he said.

He bought the Yankees cap on Sept. 11, 2001, just outside of New York City -- he could see the towers burning that day from where he was, he said.

"It's been with me everywhere," he said. "It's been with me in Iraq and Afghanistan. I wore it the day my daughter was born. It's been everywhere, from Europe to Las Vegas."

Now it's going to Yankee Stadium.

To donate and to track Matt's progress, visit Walking4Lou.com.

July 11, 2011 - 5:33pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien, darien lake theme park.

State regulators are expected to meet with investigators from the Sheriff's Office tomorrow and present their findings from their investigation into the death Friday of Iraq war hero James Hackemer, who was ejected from the Ride of Steel at Darien Lake Theme Park.

Until then, it's hard to say, according to Deputy Chief Jerome Brewster, if there will be any evidence to take to the District Attorney's Office for possible prosecution of any staff members at the theme park.

"At this point, we don't see any evidence of criminality," Brewster said. "But we'll have to see what the Department of Labor comes up with in their half of the investigation. If in their half, they find training records that show a supervisor or employees were trained not to let an amputee on the ride (for example), then maybe there is something to take to the District Attorney to review."

Brewster said, rather than a criminal complaint the findings might support a possible civil action by Hackemer's family, noting, however, that in any case where there is an injury or death on an amusement park ride, some sort of civil action is likely.

"Just off the top of my head I would think there’s some potential for civil liability, but criminal liability remains to be seen," Brewster said.

The Sheriff's Office has completed its investigation, Brewster said. The DOL investigators were at the scene of the accident today and are expected to return to Darien Lake in the morning before meeting with the Sheriff's Office in the afternoon.

Darien Lake officials are being exceptionally tight lipped about the accident.

Cassandra Okon, spokeswoman for the theme park, today repeated what she's told every news outlet that's called her: Officials at the park have no idea how long the investigation will take and until then park officials have no comment on the accident.

Asked if there would be a press conference after the investigation is completed, Okon said that hasn't been decided.

She took The Batavian's e-mail address and said if there are any further statements from Darien Lake, the statements will be e-mailed to all of the media outlets on her list.

The story of Hackemer's death has been reported throughout the world.

He lost both of his legs to a roadside bomb in Iraq and twice nearly died as a result of his wounds.

Hackemer's family told the Buffalo News that the 29-year-old father of two "died happy."

"I have no doubt in my mind that he died happy," his sister, Jody Hackemer, said Saturday as the family gathered at Hackemer's parents' farmhouse in Gowanda. "I know that's hard to comprehend. But really, he was doing what he wanted to do. And that's the important thing."

While there have been rumors since the accident that Hackemer insisted on getting on the ride over the objections of Darien Lake staff, the family contradicts those account in the Buffalo News article.

"We in no shape or form hold Darien Lake accountable," the sister said. "They weren't negligent. It's nobody's fault. It was an accident. James thought it wasn't an issue."

Brewster said that what he's seen from the investigation reports so far indicate that Hackemer wanted to get on the ride and family and staff assisted him. There was no attempt that Brewster is aware of to stop Hackemer from taking a seat on the Ride of Steel.

"Nobody has indicated that at this point," Brewster said.

Brewster confirmed accounts that Hackemer was ejected from the ride at the crest of a hill on the ride the runs parallel Route 77 where other rides have said the gravitational shift causes riders to lift out of their seats.  

Hackemer had already been though bigger hills in the ride, so it's still not clear why he was ejected at this point in the ride.

The accident has revived an attempt by a Massachusetts congressman to take theme park regulation out of the hands of state officials and put regulation and investigation into federal officials' hands.

The local and state regulators who currently oversee amusement parks may lack the budget resources and technical experience to carry out effective safety checks and investigate accidents, Markey said.

"While the cause of the accident that claimed the life of Sgt. Hackemer is still unknown, one thing is crystal clear: Hypercoasters that hurtle riders at speeds exceeding 70 miles per hour along 200-foot drops should not be exempt from federal safety oversight," Markey said.

He plans to introduce legislation, which he has proposed multiple times before, to make fixed-site amusement parks subject to the regulatory authority of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, a federal consumer protection body. The move could prevent future injuries, he said.

July 11, 2011 - 12:14pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien.

The following arrests were made by the Sheriff's Office on July 8 during the Sugarland concert at Darien Lake Performatin Arts Center.

Tina M. Smith, 42, of  Coburn Street, Elmira is charged with harassment, 2nd. Smith is accused of striking a security guard will being ejected.

Margaret B. DeMarco, 18, of Hughes Street, Buffalo is charged with false personation and possession of alcohol under age 21. DeMarco is accused of providing a false name and being under 21 in possession of alcohol.

After the jump, a list of citations issued for alleged underage drinking. 

 

July 9, 2011 - 8:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Darien.

Smoke is reportedly coming from the woods along the east side of Fargo Road, south of Reynolds Road, in Darien. Darien Volunteer Fire Department is responding. The caller said there was a large amount of black smoke pouring from the area.

UPDATE 8:42 p.m.: Firefighters on scene report that, at this time, the fire is deemed to be a controlled burn.

UPDATE 8:52 p.m.: It is a controlled burn and those responsible for it are putting it out. Darien fire is back in service.

July 9, 2011 - 12:12am
posted by WBTA News in accident, Darien, darien lake theme park.

The victim of a tragic roller coaster accident at Darien Lake Theme Park this afternoon was 29-year-old James Hackemer, of Gowanda. He is a veteran of the Iraq War and a double-amputee. One of his legs was removed at the hip, and other below just above the knee.

The Ride of Steel is a lap-harness-only roller coaster. Its restraint system includes a yellow lap bar that covers approximately hip-to-hip, and a lap-only seat belt. There are no other bodily restraints built into the ride. Hackemer was not wearing prosthetic legs this afternoon.

At a news conference this evening, Genesee County Sheriff's Sergeant Greg Walker confirmed that Hackemer was riding in the front seat of the front car on The Ride of Steel at the time of the incident. He was sitting next to a family member. Sgt. Walker estimated the roller coaster was traveling about 50 mph. He could not say how far Hackemer had fallen.

Sheriff's investigations will continue tomorrow. Darien Lake officials and the NYS Department of Labor are also looking into the matter. No charges have been filed.

Park officials declined comment this evening, other than to say that the theme park will remain open on its normal schedule tomorrow. The Ride of Steel will remain closed. A message to the public has been posted on the Darien Lake website.

PHOTO: Genesee County Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Mullen, left, and Sgt. Greg Walker. Photo by Geoff Redick of WBTA.

CORRECTION (1:04 a.m.): Victim's name updated to reflect proper spelling.

July 8, 2011 - 7:31pm
posted by Billie Owens in accident, Darien, darien lake theme park.

A patron, believed to be a male, fell off the Ride of Steel roller coaster (also known as Superman) this afternoon and died at Darien Lake Theme Park, according to Genesee County Sheriff Gary Maha.

No other information is available at this time.

UPDATE (8:20 p.m.): According to a park spokesperson, the victim is an adult male. The accident happened at about 5:30 p.m. The ride and surrounding area are closed while the incident is under investigation.

July 5, 2011 - 3:25pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien.

A bicyclist from Erie County was injured late Monday morning when a car reportedly turned in front of him at the intersection of Alleghany and Sumner roads, Darien.

Mercy Flight was initially dispatched to the scene, but was canceled before arrival.

Transported by ground ambulance to ECMC was Albert W. Weber, 49, of Heise Road, Clarence Center. He was treated and released.

Cited for allegedly failing to use a turn signal was Lynn A. Pilc, 38, of Schoellkopf Road, Cowlesville.

Pilc was driving a 2008 Ford SUV northbound on Route 77 when she reportedly decided to make a right-hand turn onto Sumner Road.

Pilc allegedly turned in front of Weber's bike and he was apparently unable to avoid a collision.

The accident was investigated by Deputy Nathan Balduf.

July 5, 2011 - 2:57pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, elba, Darien, Stafford.

Derek Todd Hanchett, 21, of Arnold Road, Elba, is charged with unlawful dealing with fireworks. Hanchett was charged following an investigation by Deputy Jason Saile about a complaint of loud fireworks at 1:33 a.m., Monday, in the area of 4238 West Ave., Elba. Hanchett was allegedly found setting off fireworks and in possession of fireworks.

Edward Woods, 18, of Vine Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Woods is accused of stealing money from Darien Lake Theme Park while employed at the park.

Nicole Lynn Poler, 26, of Zig Zag Road, Albion, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or more and driving left of pavement markings. Poler was reportedly involved in a one-car accident in the area of 23 Allegany Road, Corfu, at 2:25 a.m. Saturday. The accident was investigated by Deputy Howard Carlson (initial report).

Benjamin Jeffery Kitanik, 26, of Maltby Road, Oakfield, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and driver's view obstructed. Kitanik was stopped at 2:25 a.m. Sunday on Route 77 in Darien, by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Cody Lee Pahuta, 19, of Williams Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Pahuta is accused of shoplifting $22.88 in merchandise from Walmart.

Braydon Mitchell Edwards, 20, of Waterloo Street, Clyde, is charged with unlawful possession of alcohol under 21 years of age. Edwards was charged following an investigation into a disturbance at 5:53 p.m. Sunday at Darien Lake Theme Park.

Patrick Gregory Potwora, 26, of Horseshoe Lake Road, Stafford, is charged with a felony count of DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and failure to keep right. Potwora was stopped at  1:52 a.m. Monday, in the area of 20 W. Main St., Batavia, by Deputy Patrick Reeves.

Chad Michael Henning, 18, of Main Street, Akron, is charged with unlawful possession of alcohol by a person under age 21. Henning was charged following a traffic stop at 12:38 a.m. Saturday by Deputy Jason Saile on Route 77, Darien. Henning was a passenger in the car and allegedly had a container of alcohol in his hands.

July 5, 2011 - 12:51pm
posted by Billie Owens in Darien, accidents.

A two-car "T-bone" accident is reported at Sumner and Colby roads in Darien. There are injuries but everyone was conscious at the time of the call to dispatch.

Darien Fire Department and Mercy EMS are responding.

UPDATE 1:02 p.m.: A firefighter says a utility pole was damaged. It doesn't appear to be in danger of toppling over but it was "struck pretty good." One of the cars involved has Indiana plates. Two tows are called, including one flatbed.

UPDATE 1:25 p.m.: Darien fire is back in service.

UPDATE 1:42 p.m.: Mercy medics are taking three people to UMMC and another person is being taken there in a private vehicle. National Grid has been notified abou the damaged pole.

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