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Darien

March 4, 2016 - 8:06am
posted by Billie Owens in crime, news, Darien.

A woman was allegedly shoved out of a black Dodge pickup truck while it was moving, at Allegany and Sumner roads, Darien. The victim was also allegedly cut with a knife by the driver of the pickup during the incident. She is bleeding from the face and has a shoulder injury and possible broken arm and/or collarbone. Sheriff's deputies are pursuing the truck southbound on 77. State Police and Darien medics are at the scene with the victim. Darien Fire Department is also responding.

UPDATE 8:12 a.m.: The victim is being transported to UMMC. 

February 29, 2016 - 7:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Darien, pembroke, Le Roy.

Rochard Joseph Tomaino, 28, of Wheatfield Street, North Tonawanda, is charged with: unlawful fleeing a police officer; speeding; no/inadequate plate lamps; obscured plate; failure to yield the right of way to emergency vehicles; aggravated unlicensed operation; failure to stop at a stop sign; reckless driving; criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and resisting arrest. Tomaino was arrested following an alleged police pursuit that started in the Town of Batavia at 1:36 a.m. Saturday on Pearl Street Road, proceeded through the City of Batavia and continued back to the west, ending in the Town of Darien at the Erie County line. The Sheriff's Office was assisted by Batavia PD, State Police and the Erie County Sheriff's Office. Tomaino was jailed without bail pending his next court appearance. (Initial Report)

Cody Patrick MacNaughton, 25, of Weatherwood Lane, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and registration / plate display violation. MacNaughton was stopped after allegedly being observed speeding in the Village of Bergen at 8:06 a.m. Sunday by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Carl Daniel Blackmon, 43, of Stewart Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Blackmon was stopped for an alleged traffic violation at 2 p.m. Friday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Richard Schildwaster.

A 16-year-old resident of Mill Street, Le Roy, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, menacing, 2nd, and harassment, 2nd. The youth was charged following a domestic incident reported at 5:30 p.m. Thursday. The youth was jailed on $500 bail.

Paul Konieczny, 51, of Harvester Avenue, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Konieczny was arrested by Batavia PD following an investigation into a reported domestic incident at 12:21 a.m. Thursday. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Ryan James Wetsell, 22, of Bank Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Wetsell was allegedly found in possession of marijuana during a police investigation into a reported burglary at his residence.

Michael T. MacCowan, 42, of Meadow Farm North, North Chili, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and passed red light (two counts). MacCowan was stopped at 2:20 a.m. Sunday on Clinton Street by Officer Eric Foels.

Frank L. Morrison, 34, of East Avenue, Medina, was arrested on a warrant. Morrison was arrested by a deputy and turned over to Batavia PD on a City Court warrant.

February 11, 2016 - 3:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in darien lake theme park, Darien, business.

Press release:

Today, Darien Lake, Western New York’s largest theme park, announced a $1.5 million capital investment that will be used to build a new extreme water ride – the RipCurl Racer. Upon the approval of an incentive package from the Genesee County Economic Development Center and building permit completion, the park will begin construction on the new water ride, with plans to be fully operational for the water park’s 2016 opening on May 21.

The RipCurl Racer Experience:

42 feet above the pool, six mat-riding competitors launch themselves headfirst into side-by-side tunnels and rocket through the twisting tunnels before accelerating into separate racing lanes.

Riders drop and slide down the home stretch, enjoying speed, compression and zero-gravity moments as they blast into a high-velocity finish.

“Bringing in RipCurl Racer, the third new thrill ride to join the park’s lineup over the past year, is really exciting for us,” said Chris Thorpe, general manager at Darien Lake. “The continued growth and expansion at Darien Lake is a testament to our dedication to providing guests with the best entertainment value in the region.”

“As one of the premier tourism destinations in Western New York, Darien Lake once again is investing in Genesee County,” said Genesee County Chamber of Commerce President Tom Turnbull. “It’s been proven in the past that adding new ride attractions increases the number of visitors to the park and we’re expecting the new RipCurl Racer will do the same. And that’s good not only for Darien Lake but for Genesee County as a whole.”

Paying for itself in just two visits, Darien Lake’s 2016 season pass is a greater value than ever before!

The park is open May 7 to Sept. 25 and welcomes overnight guests in a wide range of accommodations – from a full-service hotel and modern cabins to rental RVs and campsites. For more information or to order season passes, visit www.DarienLake.com.

February 9, 2016 - 9:42am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Le Roy, byron, Darien, Oakfield.

Adam M. Kruetz, 27, of Ross Street, Batavia, is charged with strangulation, 2nd, petit larceny and criminal mischief, 4th. Kruetz allegedly grabbed the throat of another person at 10:20 a.m. Sunday at 5 Ross St., Batavia, and caused that person to nearly lose consciousness, then stole property and broke an item belonging to that person. Kruetz was jailed without bail.

Elizabeth A. Wortman, 28, of Lake Street, Le Roy, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and driver's view obstructed. A witness reported a vehicle driving erratically on Lake Street Road, Le Roy, on Monday. A Le Roy PD patrol stopped Wortman's vehicle on Lake Street and Wortman was allegedly found to be intoxicated.

Michael J. Elmore, 25, of Liberty Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal impersonation. Elmore was located in the parking lot of 305 E. Main St., Batavia, and Elmore allegedly provided false identification to a Batavia police officer in an attempt to avoid arrest on a warrant.

Joseph A. Auricchio, 25, of Broadway Road, Darien, is charged with possession of a hypodermic instrument. Auricchio was allegedly found in possession of a needle at 4:53 p.m. Monday at a location on South Main Street, Batavia.

Brant Gordon Matthews, 21, of Maple Avenue, Le Roy, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Matthews allegedly showed up to a probation meeting at 2:08 p.m. Monday with marijuana in his pocket.

Tyler D. Price, 23, of East Main Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to meet conditions of sentencing.

Todd Patrick Galen, 53, of Merrill Road, Byron, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Galen allegedly violated a court order by failing to comply with animal control regulations.

Tyler J. Penepent, 21, of Oakfield, is charged with petit larceny. He allegedly stole a car lighting bar worth $12.96 from WalMart. 

Kristen E. Dwyer, 23, of Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Dwyer was stopped on Judge Road by State Police for an alleged expired registration. She was allegedly found in possession of 3.5 grams of marijuana in a baggie, a glass pipe containing burnt marijuana and a multicolored glass pipe containing burnt marijuana residue.

February 4, 2016 - 8:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien.

A person reportedly became trapped between two railroad cars at the railroad crossing at Fargo Road, Darien.

The person is reportedly conscious and alert. It's unknown if he's still entrapped.

Darien fire, Darien ambulance and Mercy EMS responding.

A chief requests that dispatchers check on the availability of Mercy Flight.

Corfu to stand by in quarters.

UPDATE 8:35 p.m.: Deputy on scene reports an oncoming train from the other tracks. Responding units advised to use caution.

UPDATE 8:42 p.m.: The original call from CSX said the subject was trapped between the last and second-to-last car. When firefighters arrived at that location, there was no person at that location. Further conversation with CSX indicates the original information received from CSX was incorrect. The person was never trapped. The train jolted and he was knocked down. The subject may now be in the locomotive's engine compartment. All personnel are accounted for at the engine. The subject is not injured and does not need any medical attention.

February 1, 2016 - 11:16am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Le Roy, corfu, Darien.

Warren R. Skye Jr., 62, of South Swan Street, Batavia, is charged with DWI, refusal of breath test, open container, reckless driving and leaving the scene of a property damage accident. Skye is accused of driving drunk at the time his vehicle struck a parked tow truck on South Swan Street, Batavia at 11:03 p.m. Jan. 20. Skye allegedly fled the scene of the accident and once located and taken into custody, refused to take a breath test. He reportedly urinated in the holding room at Batavia PD. (Prior Report)

Randy G. Leach, 29, of Torrey Road, Stafford, and Isaiah J. Munroe, 25, of Buell Street, Batavia, were charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Leach and Munroe were arrested following a traffic stop by Le Roy PD on Lake Street at Bacon Street.

Sara A. Howard, 21, of Bergen, is charged with grand larceny, 4th, and petit larceny and Alexander E. Fostano, 28, of Batavia, is charged with grand larceny, 4th. Howard allegedly stole a Sony Play Station valued at $300 after gaining entry to a family member's home on Jan. 8. Howard and Fostano allegedly gained entry to another family's home Thursday and stole a .50-caliber CVA muzzleloader and a 12-gauge Mossberg Maverick valued at $700. They were jailed on $10,000 bail each.

Nateeka M. Gibson, 26, is charged with petit larceny. Gibson allegedly removed a Mongoose bicycle from a shelf at Kmart and then attempted to return the item at customer service. When that didn't work, she allegedly left the store with the bicycle, valued at $199.99.

Ward E. Royse, 40, of Walnut Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear on a petit larceny charge. Royse turned himself in.

Adante L. Davis, 26, of South Main Street, Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Davis was allegedly involved in a fight while in the presence of a child less than 17 years old. He was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Danny D. Williams, 27, of Pearl Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Williams allegedly stole a bottle of wine from a liquor store in East Main Street, Batavia.

Lori A. Brightenfield, 56, of Maple Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant. She was ordered held without bail.

Timothy A. Banks, 24, of Columbia Avenue, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear. Banks allegedly failed to obey conditions of his release under supervision of Genesee Justice. Banks was located and arrested following a panhandling complaint at McDonald's in Eastown Plaza. He was jailed on $500 bail.

Tyanna D. Green, 20, of Pearl Street, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant for failure to comply with sentencing stemming from a conviction for criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, and criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd. 

Ryan A. Funke, 22, of Vine Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana and stop lamp equipment violation. Funke was stopped at 7:44 p.m. Saturday on North Street, Batavia, by Officer Matthew Wojtaszczyk.

David James Staba, 47, of Tinkham Road, Darien, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater and inadequate headlight. Staba was stopped at 7:24 p.m. Sunday on Attica Road, Darien, by Deputy Richard Schildwaster.

Nathan Everett Hinze, 22, of Ellicott Avenue, Batavia, is charged with DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation, unlicensed operator, refusal to take breath test and following too closely. Hinze was stopped at 11:30 p.m. Saturday on Law Street, Batavia, by Deputy Kevin Forsyth, following a citizen complaint of an erratic driver on Route 98, Alexander. He was jailed on $250 bail.

Katrina Marie Douglas, 26, of West Ridge Road, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, aggravated unlicensed operation, 3rd, and driving by an unlicensed driver. Douglas was arrested after Deputy Ryan Young stopped to check on a disabled vehicle at 11:15 a.m. Thursday on Lockport Road, Oakfield.

Lorin Alexandra Volk, 21, of Livingston Street, Warsaw, is charged with petit larceny. Volk allegedly stole from Kmart.

Nathan Samuel Love, 22, of Montclair Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Love allegedly attempted to steal a vacuum cleaner from Kmart. Upon further investigation, he was identified as the suspect in a vacuum cleaner theft Jan. 12.

John Ronald Laude, 23, of Main Road, Akron, is charged with promoting prison contraband, 1st, and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. Laude was allegedly found in possession of heroin while being processed for an arrest at the Genesee County Jail. He was arrested at 12:58 p.m. Thursday by Deputy Ryan Young and charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs and criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th. He was allegedly found in possession of heroin following a report of a disturbance at Walmart. Also arrested following the investigation into the alleged disturbance was Christopher Brian Smith, 24, of Pearl Street Road, Corfu, who was charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th.

January 27, 2016 - 1:22pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, batavia, Darien, Le Roy, alexander.

Philip R. Ayala is indicted for the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the third degree, a Class B felony. It is alleged that on July 9 in the City of Batavia that Ayala knowingly and unlawfully possessed a narcotic drug -- cocaine -- with intent to sell it. In count two, the defendant is accused of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fourth degree, a Class C felony, for allegedly knowingly and unlawfully possessing one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing a narcotic drug and these preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances are of an aggregate weight of one-eighth ounce or more.

Robert B. Hansen III is indicted for the crime of third-degree grand larceny, a Class D felony. It is alleged that between Feb. 15, 2013, and June 16, 2014, in the Town of Darien Hansen stole property with a value exceeding $3,000. He is accused of stealing $38,353.56 in U.S. currency. In count two, he is accused of committing the crime of second-degree forgery, also a Class D felony, on Feb. 6, 2014, in the City of Batavia, with the intent to defraud, deceive or injure another, by falsely making, completing or altering a written instrument which was to become public record or legally authorized.

Justin G. Parsons is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class D felony. It is alleged that on Nov. 19 in the Town of Alexander that Parsons drove a 2011 Chevrolet pickup on Route 20 and/or Brookville Road while in an intoxicated condition. In count two, the defendant is accused of the crime of aggravated driving while intoxicated per se, as a Class E felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .18 or more at the time.

Jose Sanabria-Lozada is indicted for the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Oct. 2 in the Village of Le Roy that Sanabria-Lozada drove a 2000 Ford pickup truck while in an intoxicated condition. In count two, the defendant is accused of driving while intoxicated, per se, as a Class E felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .08 at the time.

January 24, 2016 - 11:57am
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien.

A motor-vehicle accident with injuries is reported in the area of 9468 Alleghany Road, Darien.

That's near the Pizza Pantry, just outside the Village of Corfu.

There are two vehicles involved. One is out of the intersection, but the other is disabled and blocking.

Darien fire and ambulance dispatched.

January 17, 2016 - 6:00pm


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January 9, 2016 - 3:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in fire service, volunteer firefighters, corfu, Darien.

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Dale A. Breitwieser, 60, who gave 42 years to volunteer fire services, including stints as chief in Darien and Corfu, was lain to rest today. He was honored with a funeral procession from the Darien Fire Hall through the Village of Corfu and past the Corfu Fire Hall. Town of Batavia fire and Alden fire provided ladder trucks to hang a giant U.S. Flag over Route 33.

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January 5, 2016 - 7:57am
posted by Billie Owens in accident, Darien.

Two people are injured and trapped inside a vehicle that rolled over at Fargo and Sumner roads. Darien Fire Department is responding along with Mercy medic #3.

UPDATE 8:13 a.m.: Patients are out and not injured. Medics back in service. There was a family of four involved, mom and dad, and two toddlers. Two dogs were also in the vehicle and one of them took off following the accident. There was a second vehicle, too.

January 4, 2016 - 3:58pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien.

Dale Breitwieser, who served with the Darien Volunteer Fire Department for 42 years and is a past chief, has passed away.

There will be calling hours Thursday and Friday at the Darien Center Fire Hall, 5 to 9 p.m., and a funeral service at 10 a.m. Saturday at the fire hall.

January 4, 2016 - 12:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, Darien, Oakfield, corfu, Le Roy, pembroke, byron.

Edward Jordan White, 20, of Michigan Street, Lockport, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, unlawful possession of marijuana and aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd. White was stopped by members of the Local Drug Task Force on Dec. 30 for allegedly driving on a suspended driver's license. White was allegedly found in possession of a quantity of marijuana and cocaine. White was also allegedly in violation of probation.

William Guadalupe Potter, 62, of North Pearl Street, Oakfield, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Potter allegedly pushed a woman into a wall causing her to fall over.

Brian Eric Dagger, 30, of Batavia Street, Holley, is charged with petit larceny. Dagger allegedly stole a bottle of Robitussin tablets from Kmart. He was jailed on $2,500 bail.

Seth Ryan Doster, 24, of Alleghany Road, Darien, is charged with petit larceny. Doster allegedly stole $102.20 in merchandise from Walmart. Also charged, Sarah Dianne Lazarus, 24, of Alleghany Road, Darien.

Kim Marie Spencer, 56, of Chick Road, Darien, is charged with DWI. Spencer was arrested by Deputy Michael Lute in connection into an investigation into an incident reported at 6:49 p.m. Thursday on Chick Road, Darien. The investigation is continuing and additional charges are pending.

Jeffrey Lynn Shultz, 21, of Walkers Corner Road, Byron, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Shultz allegedly engaged in an unsupervised visit in violation of a court order.

Kenneth Fred McGiveron, 25, of Route 78, South Wales, is charged with no stop lights, open container, DWAI drugs and alcohol combined and DWAI drugs. McGiveron was stopped at 12:58 p.m. Saturday on Route 77, Pembroke, by Deputy Lonnie Nati.

Leonard Alfred Johnson, 23, of Hutchins Street, Batavia, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 3rd, and criminal use of drug paraphernalia, 2nd. Johnson was a passenger in a car stopped by Officer Chad Richards at 5:23 p.m. in the parking lot of Horizon Health Services, 31 Ellicott St., Batavia. Johnson allegedly fled on foot following the traffic stop, but returned on his own a short time later. Police allegedly found a bag containing a dozen smaller bags of cocaine, which Johnson indicated belonged to him. Johnson was jailed without bail.

Coretta M. Pitts, 47, of Williams Street, Batavia, is charged with second-degree harassment. Pitts allegedly scratched the face of another person during an argument reported at 4:50 a.m., Saturday. Pitts was jailed on $400 bail.

Jason A. Armstrong Sr., 43, of Main Road, East Pembroke, is charged with first-degree criminal sexual act and criminal obstruction of breathing or blood circulation. Armstrong allegedly choked and had unwanted sexual contact with another person during an alleged domestic incident reported at 10 p.m. Nov. 6 on South Main Street, Batavia. Armstrong was jailed without bail. Armstrong was also charged with strangulation, 2nd, and assault, 2nd, for an alleged incident reported at 6 a.m. Dec. 22 at a location on South Main Street, Batavia.

Robert W. Blankenberg, 31, of Union Street, Le Roy, was arrested on a warrant. Blankenberg was stopped for an alleged traffic violation and arrested on the warrant.

Robert D. Kendall, 55, of Jamaica Lane, Cheektowaga, is charged with leaving the scene of a property damage accident, moving from lane unsafely, driving a motor vehicle on sidewalk, driving through safety zone and unlawful possession of marijuana. Kendall was charged after an investigation into an accident reported at 12:03 p.m. Dec. 29 on Oak Street, Batavia. Kendall was located by police in the parking lot of a business on West Main Street following a tip from a witness.

Michael J. Henry, 48, of State Street, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct. Henry is accused of continuously using obscene language outside his home on State Street while police officers were there investigating a complaint.

Michael J. Antonucci, 33, of Alexander Road, Attica, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Antonucci allegedly violated a complete stay away order by sending a text to the protected party.

Jason W. Wolf, 39, of West Main Street Road, Batavia, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, and driving without interlock device. Wolf was stopped at 5:04 p.m. Dec. 29 on Brooklyn Avenue, Batavia, by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

Kenneth J. Wolter, 45, of Watson Street, Batavia, is charged with unreasonable noise. Wolter was allegedly playing music an unreasonable level at 10:37 p.m. Dec. 30 and he refused repeated requests to turn it down.

Robert Ernest Saari, 34, of Meiser Road, Corfu, was arrested on a warrant for alleged failure to appear. Saari allegedly failed to appear in City Court on a traffic violation. Saari posted cash bail and was released.

Melvin J. Swanson, 60, of Main Road, Pembroke, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .18 or greater, failure to obey traffic control device and open container. Swanson was stopped at 1:58 a.m. Friday on South Main Street, Batavia, by Officer Mitchell Cowen.

January 2, 2016 - 6:48pm
posted by Billie Owens in Darien, fire.

Darien Fire Department is called to respond to the possible rekindle of the trailer fire at 9590 Simonds Road, on the Miller dairy farm.

January 1, 2016 - 2:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Darien.

An 11-year-old child apparently suffered a broken leg in a snowmobile accident in the area of Smithley Road, Darien.

Darien fire and ambulance responding. Alexander fire requested mutual aid with its Gator.

UPDATE 2:44 p.m.: A landing zone has been established for Mercy Flight.

UPDATE 3:10 p.m.: Mercy Flight in route to Women & Children's Hospital of Buffalo.

December 31, 2015 - 12:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in fire, Darien.

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A fully involved trailer fire that is next to a barn is reported at 9590 Simonds Road, Darien. That's the Miller farm. A person was injured jumping out of a window because of the fire. Darien Fire Department is responding, along with mutual aid from Corfu and Alexander. Mercy medic #4 is called to the scene.

UPDATE 12:15 p.m.: A first responder on scene reports half the trailer is burned. Everyone is out of the structure, which is adjacent to a large barn. The patient has lacerations to his right hand and arm and is inside the residence at the farm.

UPDATE 12:19 p.m.: A crew from East Pembroke is requested to fill in at Corfu's fire hall.

UPDATE 1:09 p.m.: An employee at the dairy farm, Jamie Mitman, said an employee was sleeping inside the trailer and told her that "he woke up, smelled smoke, panicked and jumped out the window. ... Cut up his hand pretty good -- (to the extent) where he'd need stitches." Jeff Lucker, Darien's first assistant chief, said when he arrived the mobile home was 50-percent involved with flames showing in half the structure. The man who jumped out the window was not seriously injured, Lucker said, and he was transported by private vehicle to a hospital for treatment of cuts and abrasions to his arms, legs and hands. Alden Fire Department filled in at Darien's hall. Fighting this type of fire typically requires a low volume of water and is straightforward, which was the case here, Lucker said, adding that "It's probably fortunate that today is New Year's Eve so that a lot of people are at home and not at work and so we got a quick response."

UPDATE 1:56 p.m.: Fire is out. All units are clearing the scene.

UPDATE 3:27 p.m.: A Darien crew is asked to assemble to deal with a small rekindle of the fire. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

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December 23, 2015 - 8:00am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien, mental health, synthetic drugs, bath salts.

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Ryan C. Bergman
Photo courtesy the Bergmans

Just before Thanksgiving, 2013, a month before his death, 26-year-old Ryan C. Bergman sat at the dining room table after an evening dinner with his parents in their home on Fargo Road, Darien, and talked with his mother about his mental health.

At age 10, his fourth-grade year, all his troubles seemed to start, Ryan told his mother as they talked through his life on a chilled and snowy November evening.

That made sense, Bernadette Bergman said. She always thought there were two turning points, downhill points, really, for her son — when he was 10 and when he was 13.

Ryan spent that fourth-grade year with a Pembroke teacher whom Bernadette described as rude, cruel and largely uncaring about Ryan’s struggles.

Bright, articulate but unable to stay focused, Ryan was a misfit among his peers. He was oblivious to social norms, craved attention and found it difficult to complete his assignments in the manner expected by his teacher.

To a public school teacher with 30 other kids to manage and guide, Ryan was, perhaps, more like a distraction than a promising literary master, a potential mathematician or computer scientist.

Bernadette, herself a teacher, recalled one parent-teacher conference that didn’t go well.

She had a notebook with her from a parenting workshop with information meant to help a student like Ryan, but Ryan’s teacher dismissed the binder and its contents as useless.

“She literally, right in front of me, ripped it apart page by page,” said Bernadette, mimicking the teacher ripping page after loose-leaf page from the book.

“‘Oh, he doesn’t need that. He doesn’t need that,’” Bernadette recalled her saying.

“If you’re rude to the parent, you can imagine what she was like in the classroom,” Bernadette said.

Her husband Richard added, “We learned from other kids later that when he got kicked out of class, he would go to the class of the grade above and he would just be rolling around in the back and the teacher would ask the class a question and nobody would know the answer, no hands would go up, and Ryan would yell out the answer. He wasn’t even paying attention and he would know the answer and shout it out.”

The first inkling the Bergmans got that Ryan might be struggling to find his place in the world came after a day out sledding with neighbors who had children right around Ryan’s age.

Ryan was a bit disruptive and the other mother told Bernadette that Ryan was “a little wild.” Bernadette was unfazed. He was just a squirrelly kid.

Later, at a pool party with the same family, Ryan found ways to irritate both children and adults. He would annoy, pester and bother, ignoring the social signals other children might decipher and realize their behavior went a little too far.

“Ryan would just do aggravating things to get people’s attention,” Richard said. “Like, he might poke you under water. He wasn’t nasty, maybe borderline nasty, just to get their attention, with it never clicking in his brain that maybe they were going to want you around less.”

Ryan was trapped in a world where his verbal skills allowed him to converse knowingly with adults, but as a matter of age and experience, his time was properly spent with children, and typically, children with minds that couldn’t grasp his meaning and tongues muted by more limited vocabularies.

Ryan’s mind worked fast, fueled by a voracious appetite for printed words.

He was reading above his grade level when he started kindergarten.

“It was like a switch,” Richard said. “A switch went off and he could read and that was it. He could read.”

From kindergarten on, he always had a book open, if not in his hand, within arm’s reach.

“He would read everything,” Bernadette said. “He would read anything. You couldn't be any place and he wouldn't read. He would read the toilet tissue roll, you know what I mean. He just loved the language. He spoke early. He loved to play with words. When he was real little he would say things like 'uppy duppy, potty watty,' all the rhyming stuff. He would just do it naturally. Ryan just loved it. He just loved the language.”

The Bergman’s think Ryan’s advanced skills with the English language drove some teachers crazy. One counselor warned Ryan’s teachers not to engage with him verbally, “because he’ll just chew you up.” Some teachers couldn’t accept that this elementary school student might be smarter than they were. 

“There’s always going to be kids who are smarter than you,” Bernadette said. “I don’t care who you are, just suck it up and embrace it, you know, because there’s other things you can teach them. In Ryan’s case, it was organizational skills.”

The lack of organizational skills is what led to Ryan’s second turning point, downhill, when he was 13, in sixth grade. Ryan was accepted into an advanced mathematics program at the University at Buffalo.

It was an odd fit. Ryan, the word guy in an advanced math class at a university. He really wasn’t good with numbers, but his innate ability to reason through puzzles made higher level mathematics, where it becomes more about theory and logic than formulas, easy.

Except for one problem: Ryan didn’t grasp how he arrived at his answers. In mathematics, where part of the problem-solving regime is showing your work, Ryan couldn’t explain how he arrived at his solutions.  He got the answers right, he just didn’t know how he got there.

Also, he often didn’t turn in his homework.

"In his mind, 'OK, here's the homework,' ” Richard said. “ 'I did the homework. It's done.' But you have to turn it in. You have to hold onto that piece of paper, you've got to take it with you, you got to turn it in, but in his mind, 'I did it.’ ”

Pok-e-Mon was big at the time and Ryan had a collection of cards. When Bernadette met with the UB teacher about her son’s difficulties in the class, the teacher had a hard time buying that Ryan innately lacked organizational skills.

The teacher noted Ryan’s well organized box of Pok-e-Mon cards. Surely, that was proof, she said, that he was capable of being organized when he was motivated.

“I told her, ‘One, I organized them for him so he would fit in, so that he could use them,' ” Bernadette said, adding, “ ‘but, two, he lost them here. He has no clue where they are.’ ”

Ryan was devastated when he was sent back to a regular math class at Pembroke.

“He just shut down the math side,” Bernadette said. “He was embarrassed. Here was something he could have flourished at, but now he’s back at Pembroke.”

And none of the professionals picked up on Ryan’s growing mental issues.

“The tip off (to the professionals) should have been, verbally, he was very strong, in the 99.8 percentile, but the math part, he lagged behind,” Richard said. “That’s usually a tipoff that something is going on. When you get into the gifted math program, you go, ‘How can that be?’ ” But on standardized testing, he was superior in language and was behind in math.”

Even in areas where he should have excelled socially, he became a pariah.

In the pre-Internet days, computer geeks formed social clubs, called LAN groups (LAN: local area network). They would bring their bulky desktop computers to a group member’s house, string them together with Ethernet cable and a network hub and play computer games.

“He was very good with computers,” Richard recalled. “He would, you know, actually read the manuals. He was able to do things other kids couldn’t.”

For some kids, superior knowledge is a pathway to friendship. I help you and you help me. For Ryan, he could use his advanced computer skills to bully the other kids.

“It got to the point where he (the kid who hosted the group) didn’t want Ryan coming over any more,” Bernadette said. “He didn’t want Ryan over because his other friends didn’t want him over. He would screw up their computers and sitting next to them, he would aggravate them either physically or verbally.”

Like many children with attention difficulties and a tendency toward hyperactivity, Ryan was prescribed drugs, such as Ritalin. Sometimes, Ryan would take his medication as prescribed. Sometimes, he wouldn’t. He would hide his pills around the house and then take several pills at once just to see what it was like.

A psychologist — the same one who warned teachers Ryan could out talk them — told the Bergmans that children like Ryan, superior verbal skills, struggling to fit in socially and academically, who were once at the top of their class, but lost their way as organizational skills become a part of the educational process, typically become depressed and take their own lives.

At age 16, Ryan tried to do just that, using the prescription medication he had available to him.

“He was still under care of this doctor and still going to Pembroke,” Richard said. “The doctor was like, ‘I didn’t see this coming.’ And we thought, ‘You’re the one who warned us and now you say you didn’t see it coming?’  ‘Well,’ he said, ‘I thought his ego strength was so large that he would never do it.’ And we were like, ‘His ego strength is there because he’s covering up for the fact that he doesn’t fit in.’ ”

Richard and Bernadette Bergman have all the attributes of ideal parents — steady jobs, a stable home life, community involvement, an active church and social life, and an abiding desire to be parents.

Ryan isn’t the first child Richard and Bernadette tried to adopt. First, there was Jeffrey, a special needs child who has never lived with them, but still has a room in their house and often spends the holidays, some weekends and other special days with the Bergmans.

Jeffrey is now 46 years old and lives in a group home in East Aurora.

“We call him our voluntary son,” Richard said.

Then Richard and Bernadette learned of a single mother who was going to give birth to a baby girl, so they arranged through an attorney to adopt that child upon her birth.

Preparations were made, documents signed and on the day the child was born, Richard and Bernadette were waiting for the child to be brought to them from the hospital when they learned the mother had changed her mind.

The Bergmans were disappointed. The attorney felt horrible about the turn of events. He promised, “when the next child becomes available, you’re at the top of the list.”

It was 1987. A 15-year-old girl in Erie County gave birth to a little boy. He became Ryan Bergman. He came to live with them in their turn-of-the-century home in a little hamlet in the Town of Darien that once was known as Fargo Village, with a train station on the Delaware, Lackawana & Western Railroad line and a little schoolhouse at Fargo and Sumner roads.

At some point in Ryan’s young life, the Bergmans learned through a sister of the birth mother that the young lady had her own struggles with alcohol, as did her father.

Scientists are still learning about the role of dopamine (a biological chemical critical to brain and body functions) in people’s lives, but it is an apparent factor in drug and alcohol abuse and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. These traits could be hereditary.

The Bergmans knew this.

“We warned him, 'Smoking, alcohol, anything you can be come addicted to, you can become addicted to, because there seems to be a correlation,' ” said Bernadette, who has long been involved the Genesee County Mental Health Association.

From a young age, Ryan had a preoccupation with alcohol, not that he was drinking at a young age, but he talked about it, asked questions about it, was curious about it.

There wasn’t much alcohol around the house, though Bernadette liked to have an occasional drink, but Ryan was fixated on the idea of alcohol.

“He was obsessed with talking about it,” Bernadette recalls. “In our mind as lay people, that just seemed, you know, an obsession.”

The response of GCASA (Genesee Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse)?

"We don't see any problem here. Kids always talk about alcohol."

Ryan decided he was Irish. And the Irish, of course, have a reputation for boozing it up.

“He was starting to embrace the idea by the time he was a teenager,” Bernadette said. “We have no idea if he has any Irish blood in him or not, but he decided he was going to be Irish.”

Ryan started going to parties with friends. Richard and Bernadette weren’t sure if there was alcohol involved or not, but they suspect there was, then one night he came home plastered.

They think Ryan might have been the one supplying the drinks. He had a job. He had money of his own to make the purchase. He was savvy. He could have been buying beverages and supplying them to his peers.

“It was a way for him to be accepted,” Richard said. “If you’re an outsider, this is an in. ‘I can get you alcohol.’ ”

Despite his struggles, Ryan did graduate from Pembroke High School, earning his diploma in 2005.

In August, he entered the Army, but washed out of basic training and was home by October.

It was tough for him to keep jobs. The Genesee ACE Employment program helped and Ryan landed one of his longer term jobs at the Kutter Cheese Factory, working there from July 2009 to February 2010.

He floated in and out of jobs and friendships, apparently using drugs and grappling with his mental health issues. He wound up in a program at GCASA and was working at Pioneer Credit when he met a woman who was 10 years older, married, with four children and a husband and a house in Oakfield. Ryan moved in with the woman and her children, along with the teenage friend of one of the woman’s daughters.

To support their drug habits, they got into property crime, along with a man who was recently released from prison and was on parole.

They broke into a fire hall in Orleans County and were caught because Ryan, disorganized, forgetful Ryan Bergman, left his mother’s mobile phone in the building. The night before the Orleans deputies showed up at the Bergman’s house, the group had broken into a gun club in Cowlesville and stole a computer.

Ryan insisted the woman wasn’t involved in his crimes.

“He was very loyal,” Richard said. “He wouldn’t turn her in because she had kids. He went to jail so she wouldn’t have to.”

He was sentenced to several months in the Genesee County Jail for breaking into cars, followed by weekends in the Orleans County Jail.

“Most parents worry about where their kids will be when they turn 21,” Richard said. “Ours was already in jail.”

He also spent nearly a year in the Erie County Jail when he was caught driving the wrong way on a street near the Buffalo Airport while high.

It was during this time, Ryan became friends with a person who already had some experience with bath salts. 

When a friend of the family lost a daughter to heroin, Ryan’s response was, “I don’t do heroin,” Richard recalled, “like it was a lesser drug.”

Bath salts, though, were the product of chemistry, and presumably safe because, at least at the time, they were legal.

They could be bought on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation, and soon thereafter at locations in the City of Batavia. But when law enforcement swooped in and cut off the local supply, Ryan turned to mail order.

Bath salts are easy to find and buy online and can even be purchased as “samples,” which makes hits more affordable.

“It was the best of both worlds,” Richard said. “It was an amphetamine and he could get high or whatever he was taking them for, and it was legal. At least that was the selling point in the beginning.”

The Bergmans were trying to get their son help in those late fall and early winter months of 2013. It was a struggle.

Certain synthetic drugs are known to induce paranoia, and Ryan may have tended toward suspicion already. When he was in the grips of synthetic drugs, he could distrust anybody and everybody.

A family friend, an attorney, named David, found him out and about and tried to help him. Ryan asked him, “How many pieces of silver was Jesus sold for?”

David said, “I don’t exactly remember.”

“See, David would know the answer to the question, so you’re not David.”

Eventually, David got Ryan home and told the Bergmans, “This kid needs to go to the hospital.”

They tried.

One time, Ryan was taken to a mental health institution and the social worker called the Bergmans at home.

“She said we can give him a ticket at the bus station, or he can stay in a homeless shelter or we can sign him into the facility for care.”

To Ryan, in-patient treatment was tantamount to jail.

“I was on my way there to read him the riot act and by the time I got there, he had sweet talked her -- he was very charming -- and he had her talked into letting him go to out-patient treatment,” Richard said. “He just had her wrapped around his finger and now I was the bad guy.”

Ryan didn’t think it did him any good to be taken to facilities in Buffalo, but he thought he might get help at the hospital in Warsaw, so when he would agree to be checked in someplace, he would agree to Warsaw.

But agreeing and actually getting there were two different matters.

Bernadette learned once the decision was made, she had to get the car started, the windows up and ensure the child safety locks were on. Otherwise, once he got into the car, if he did, he might try to escape at some point.

“We’d maybe go around and around for an hour before he would get in the car,” Bernadette said. “Twice, once we got to Warsaw, after we got there, he just ran off. Once a deputy found him at Tim Horton’s (Cafe).”

In December 2013, Richard Bergman realized there hadn’t been mail delivered to his house in a few days.

“I’d come home and Ryan wouldn’t be there, and I’d ask him where he was when I came home, and he said he went out for a walk to blow off steam,” Richard said. “Well, Thursday, there was no mail. Friday, no mail. Saturday, no mail. Then a notice comes and said, ‘OK, we’re restarting the mail you had suspended for three days.’ I asked him, ‘Did you suspend the mail?’ He said he didn’t know what happened, ‘but your name is on it.' ”

Richard confronted Ryan about getting drugs through the mail, but Ryan denied it.

The Bergmans now know that Ryan was getting samples of Alpha PVP from China delivered to their mail address. The evidence: an envelop with the synthetic drug and a packing slip arrived in the mail a couple of days after he died.

In December 2013, Alpha PVP was little known in the drug or law enforcement community, but over the past year news about its deadly effects have burst into the news under its most common street name, "Flakka," and those reports are what prompted the Bergmans to contact a local reporter more than a year after his initial interview request.

They’re very concerned about how easy it is for young people to buy these dangerous drugs. They don’t know the answer, but they think people should be more aware of what’s going on.

“If you can’t control in anyway how this stuff is getting into the country, you’re never going to be able to address it,” Richard said. “If it’s that easy to obtain, it’s like, how can you blunt that?”

Bernadette remembers sitting in court one time waiting for Ryan’s case to be called and another drug addict accused of a crime stood with his lawyer before the judge.

“The judge says to the lawyer, ‘How many times does he need to go to rehab?’ and I want to say, ‘As many times as it takes,’ and that’s basically what the lawyer said. We need lawyers to understand. We need judges who understand. That would all work easier if the insurance and medical professions had a greater interest in getting a handle on this. My fear is that maybe (bath salts) isn’t as big as heroin, but it’s just so easy to get. You can order it from the comfort of your own home and it comes in the mail and maybe kids see that as no big deal.”

The Sunday before Christmas 2013, Ryan didn’t want to be checked into Warsaw, so he was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital instead. His father brought him home Monday. He swore he didn’t have any drugs in his room.

“His room was a pig sty,” Bernadette said. “If he had any drugs in there, you could look for them and it would take you a week, so he swore, ‘Mom, there are no drugs here,’ well, obviously, that was a lie. He must have taken all he had.”

On Christmas Eve day, Bernadette knew something was wrong with her son.

“Clearly, he was not well,” she said. “I told him, you have two choices. I can take you to the hospital or I can call an ambulance. We got his bags packed and we’re ready to go and he says, ‘Mom, there’s a third choice. I can do outpatient.’  ‘Yes, but we need to get you stable first.’ Just like that, he takes off. He’s in this room. He’s in that room. He gets the poker (from the fire place) and runs into the bathroom and locks the door. I feel the gush of cold air and I know he’s opened the window.”

Bernadette doesn’t remember if she saw him running into the woods or if she just saw his footprints.

“In my head, I keep thinking I saw him running, but I don’t think so,” she said.

It was 10 degrees that day and Ryan was wearing nothing more than jeans, a T-shirt and sneakers.

She called emergency dispatch. She called her husband. He started home. At this point, she wasn’t scared.

“We’ve been through this before,” she said. “We’ve been through the paranoia before. We’ve called the cops before, and usually he heads down the old railroad bed in that same direction and he comes back, so it’s not like you’re thinking, ‘This is the end.’ You’re thinking, ‘We’re going through this again,’ but this time, he just kept right on going and went through the creek and got a way down the other side.”

The State Police arrived. Sheriff’s deputies arrived. Volunteers from the Darien and Alexander fire departments were deployed in a search of the area. After dark, the search was called off for the night.

It resumed the next morning, Christmas Day.

A volunteer from Alden -- a friend of the family, in fact -- found Ryan’s body.

Another friend, a fellow church member, Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble, Sheriff’s Office, delivered the news to Richard and Bernadette.

But they already knew.

“We don’t believe it was a suicide,” Richard said. “He did all of these risky behaviors that were kind of like, ‘If I die, I die. If I live, I live.’ He cracked up his car twice. It was almost like a sense of pride. After (the neighbor friend) died of an overdose, he told a social worker, ‘How come (the friend) can do it and I can’t?’ He would take these risky behaviors, knowing full well he could die, but probably not intentionally.”​

Previously on The Batavian:

December 12, 2015 - 1:45pm
posted by Billie Owens in Darien, zoning board, assessment review board.
December 5, 2015 - 2:17pm
posted by Billie Owens in Grand Jury, crime, Darien, batavia, pembroke.

Amy M. Carpenter is accused of the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class E felony. On Oct. 18, it is alleged Carpenter drove a 2002 Dodge on Willow Street and State Street in the City of Batavia while intoxicated. In count two of the indictment, she is accused of aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree for operating a motor vehicle while she allegedly knew, or had reason to know, that her driver's license was suspended, revoked or otherwise withdrawn by authorities and did so while allegedly intoxicated. Also, Genesee County District Attorney Lawrence Friedman has filed Special Information, accusing Carpenter of having been convicted of felony DWI previously, on Jan. 27, 2008, and therefore alleging she had knew or had reason to know her driving privilege was suspended or revoked as a result of this conviction.

Daniel J. Vanderjagt is accused of the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class E felony. On Aug. 8 in the Town of Darien, it is alleged that Vanderjagt drove a 2014 Ford on Main Park Road while intoxicated. In count two of the indictment, he is accused of DWI, per se, as a Class E felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .08 or more at the time.

Frank L. Schiavi is accused of the crime of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the second degree, a Class A-II felony. It is alleged that on May 7 in the City of Batavia, Schiavi knowingly and unlawfully possessed one or more preparations, compounds, mixtures or substances containing a narcotic drug, in this case, cocaine, and that these had an aggregate weight of four ounces or more.

Morgan R. Todd is accused of the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class E felony. On June 6, it is alleged that Todd drove a 2011 Volkswagen on Interstate 90 in the Town of Pembroke while intoxicated.

John W. Walsh is accused of the crime of criminal mischief in the third degree, a Class E felony. It is alleged that on Sept. 6, having no right to do so nor any reasonable grounds to believe he had such right, he intentionally damaged property of another person in an amount exceeding $250 on Oak Street in the City of Batavia.

November 25, 2015 - 1:34pm
posted by Billie Owens in crime, Darien, Le Roy, Pavilion.

Michael A. Hahn is indicted for the crime of criminal sale of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, a Class D felony. It is alleged that on Aug. 25, 2014, in the Town of Darien, that Hahn knowingly and unlawfully sold a controlled substance, methamphetamine. In count two, Hahn is accused of criminal possession of a controlled substance in the fifth degree, also a Class D felony, for allegedly knowingly and unlawfully possessing methamphetamine with the intent to sell it.

Jequan D. Patterson is accused of driving while intoxicated, as a Class E Felony. It is alleged that on July 8 in Le Roy, Patterson drove a 2015 Kia on I-90 while intoxicated. In count two, he is accused of driving while intoxicated, per se, as a Class E felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .08 percent or more at the time. In count three, he accused of aggravated driving while intoxicated, as a Class E felony, for having a child age 15 or less as a passenger. In count four, Patterson is accused of aggravated driving while intoxicated for allegedly having a BAC of .08 percent or more while a child age 15 or less was a passenger. In count five, Patterson is accused of the crime of endangering the welfare of a child for allegedly knowlingly acting in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child less than 17 years old. Also, Special Information is filed for this indictment by District Attorney. It accuses Patterson of having been convicted of the crime of DWI, as a misdemeanor, on Feb. 27, 2006, in City of Rochester Court and that was within 10 years of the commission of the crimes now alleged.

David M. Heschke is accused of the crime of driving while intoxicated, as a Class E felony. It is alleged that on May 3 in the Town of Pavilion that Heschke drove a 2006 Nissan on Route 20 while intoxicated. In count two, he is accused of driving while intoxicated, per se, as a Class E felony, for having a BAC of .18 percent or more at the time. In count three, he is accused of first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, a Class E felony, for driving while allegedly knowing, or having reason to know, that his driver's license was suspended, revoked or otherwise withdrawn by authorities, and doing so while allegedly intoxicated. Also, Special Information is filed for this indictment by District Attorney. It accuses Heschke of having been convicted of the crime of DWI on Sept. 5, 2012, in Town of Batavia Court and that conviction forms the basis of the revocation referred to in count three of this indictment.

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