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September 22, 2010 - 4:43pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

Batavia Police are on scene of an accident at Park and Richmond. No word on injuries.

A second accident at Park and Oak has just been called in. It's reportedly a rear-end accident. No word on injuries.

September 22, 2010 - 4:39pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident.

A one-car accident with injuries has been reported in the area of 3126 Stegman Road, Batavia.

A third advanced life-support ambulance is requested.

East Pembroke Fire is on scene.


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September 22, 2010 - 2:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, alexander, Darien, Ronald J. Wendt.

In the three or four hours before the accident in Darien that took the life of a Dansville girl, Ronald J. Wendt may have drank as many as six beers, a longtime friend of his testified today.

Thirty-five-year-old William D. Marchisin, who says he's known Wendt for a number of years, was called by District Attorney Lawrence Friedman to testify about what he and Wendt did in the hours leading up to the Aug. 14, 2009 accident.

The day started at 11 a.m. at Marchisin's house and included a pizza lunch at about 1 p.m. The two men then went to a neighbor's barn to remove a grain bin and then spent the next several hours baling hay.

According to Marchisin, Wendt brought along a cooler that contained six Arizona Ice Teas and six beers. The two men drank three beers apiece before leaving the field, then at two more at the VFW Hall in Alexander, and then one more in Attica while waiting for their wings to be cooked at a pizza shop  there.

Under cross examination by Wendt's defense attorney, Thomas Burns, it came out that Marchisin has given different versions of the events that day.

In one interview with investigators, he even lied under oath -- he admitted this in court today -- about even being at the accident scene. 

In his first interview with investigator William Ferrando, Marchisin said that Wendt dropped him off at home before Wendt drove to My Saloon (the accident occurred in front of the bar on Broadway Road in Darien). A few minutes later, Marchisin gave a new sworn statement saying that he was in the truck when it was struck by a car driven by Rachel Enderle.

Marchisin said he was scared during the Aug. 18 meeting with Ferrando, which is why he lied.

As for when he and Wendt had their first beer, Marchisin has given different time lines. In Grand Jury testimony, he said 7 p.m. Today, he said under direct examination that it was 8 p.m., but later testified that it might have been 15 or 20 minutes after 7 p.m.

Marchisin also admitted that he left the scene of the accident as soon as ambulances arrived.

He described the post-accident scene as chaos, with people yelling and screaming, and bar patrons mobbing the scene, bringing out drinks, including beer bottles, and setting them on the car and truck.

"I stood there on the curb," Marchisin said. "I stood there and I don’t want to say 'awed,' but dazzled, and I considered the scene secured, I guess, and I told Ron, 'I can’t handle it anymore,' and I walked home."

Marchisin lives about a mile from where the accident occurred.

Wendt's friend did not testify about the accident itself and may be called back to the stand on another day to testify about what he saw and heard.

First on the stand today was Ferrando, who photographed the accident scene and authenticated the pictures as evidence.

Among the pictures, are two that show a LaBatt's Blue beer box in Wendt's pickup bed and what appeared to be a Blue beer can on the ground next to the truck.

Also on the stand for a brief time was Gabby Mahus, who was a passenger, sitting behind the driver, in the car that hit Wendt's truck.

She broke down when describing the accident scene and Katie Stanley being taken from the car, apparently not breathing. Judge Robert Noonan authorized a short recess so she compose herself, but Friedman had only two more questions for her when she came back.

We'll have coverage of the afternoon testimony later.

September 22, 2010 - 9:02am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama.

mug_christopher_bombard.jpgAn Alabama man whose home was raided early Tuesday morning and had 12 guns seized is suspected of modifying weapons for sale, according to Chief Deputy Jerome Brewster.

"I think he was trying to expand his business a little bit," Brewster said. "He's been rather active in turning legal weapons into allegedly illegal weapons, which is why we sent the guns to the crime lab for further evaluation."

One clearly modified gun was found, according to a Sheriff's Office press release, along with a silencer and a large capacity magazine. The other weapons will be examined and additional charges may be filed.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) participated in the raid and it's possible that Christopher Jon Bombard, 31, of 7133 Maple St. Road, will also face federal charges, which carry substantially stiffer penalties than state felonies.

Bombard was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, 2nd, and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd.

Brewster said the weapons seized included .22 long rifles and assault-style rifles.

"We do not get the impression that he had been doing this for a very long period of time," Brewster said.

The $300 seized in the raid is believed to be the fruit of an alleged illegal gun sale, Brewster said.

The weapons were being sold locally, Brewster said, and it was that local activity that led to a tip being funneled to the Sheriff's Office through the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force. The task force conducted the investigation and raid, along with the ATF and other local agencies.

The Local Drug Enforcement Task Force handles much more than drug investigations, Brewster noted. It is also charged with vice and organized crime investigation, for example, so "this was right up their alley which is why I authorized them to handle the case."

September 22, 2010 - 7:39am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

A power line has been reported down on Cedar Street.

It has reportedly fallen on an occupied car.

City Fire is responding.

UPDATE 7:45 a.m.: National Grid requested to the scene.

September 22, 2010 - 6:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

There is a report that power is out in the area of Ross and East Main streets. 

The power outage may only go as far as Washington on the north, Ellicott on the South.

UPDATE: It sounds like power is out on the south side of East Main all the way down to Cedar Street.

UPDATE 6:58 a.m.: National Grid is showing sporadic power outages south down Ellicott as far as Little Canada.

UPDATE 7:13 a.m.: According to National Grid, more than 1,200 customers are without power. One section of power loss covers the wedge from Ross to Cedar between East main and Ellicott, with some outages on the north side of East Main. Another section of outages are at Old Creek Road, north of Ellicott almost to Route 5, to just past Transit Road on the east, and down to the south to West Bethany and Brookville, and on the west side to Dorman and Cookson roads.

UPDATE 8:37 a.m.: National Grid reports that power is back on for the two outage areas mentioned above, however there is now a power outage for about 900 customers in Pavilion and down into Wyoming County.

September 21, 2010 - 10:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Alabama.

mug_christopher_bombard.jpgA dozen weapons, including one that was altered in an allegedly illegal manner, were recovered from an Alabama residence in an early morning raid by local law enforcement.

A silencer and large capacity magazine designed to fit the altered gun were also allegedly found at the residence of Christopher Jon Bombard, 31, of 7133 Maple St. Road.

Bombard was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, 2nd, and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd.

The other weapons are being sent to the Monroe County Public Safety Lab for further examination.

Additional charges may be filed.

The 7:15 a.m. raid was carried out the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force, which also recovered $300 cash.

Bombard was jailed on $100,000 bail.

Also participating in the investigation and raid were the District Attorney's Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Genesee County Office of Emergency Management and Mercy EMS.

September 21, 2010 - 9:48pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Announcements, politics, elba.

Press Release:

Monday night, Democrats in Elba held a caucus and selected a Mark Yungfleisch to run for the office being vacated by current Highway Superintendent Allan Totten. Yungfleisch is a long time Elba resident who has worked for the Highway Department in Elba previously. He is a former Elba Fire Department Assistant Chief and is currently employed at Reisdorf Oil.

Yungfleisch cited experience as his primary motivation for seeking the office. ‘I have a Class A license, I’m very familiar with the equipment and I understand the maintenance, scheduling and budgetary needs of the department,’ he said after the caucus.

September 21, 2010 - 8:23pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in baseball, Batavia Muckdogs, sports.

cardinalspr.jpg

Today Batavia baseball fans learned that they're not without hope that some St. Louis Cardinals prospect will be hurling an opening day pitch at Dwyer Stadium in June, 2011.

At a press conference where Cardinals officials were on hand to sign a new affiliation agreement with the Genesee County Baseball Club, Naomi Silver, president of Rochester Community Baseball said the Red Wings are prepared to support baseball in Batavia for at least one more season.

There are details to be settled before the current agreement expires on Oct. 31, but Silver said the Red Wings "will not leave GCBC in the lurch."

Without financial backing, and if a new owner is not found in time, GCBC could lose its New York-Penn League franchise and the $4 to $6 million that could be garnered in a sale.

"If the details of a sale have not been worked out, we would be willing to come in and help out Batavia and continue to run the ball club," Silver said. "I think the chances of baseball being in Batavia in 2011 are extremely strong. What role we play in that has yet to be determined."

Even so, Silver said, the club needs to be sold. The ideal buyer would be somebody committed to the community, with sufficient financial backing to keep the team in Batavia.

"We won’t walk away while we’re waiting for a buyer to come along," Silver said. "Somebody has got to be able to run this team because the St. Louis Cardinals are going to come here and expect to field a team. That is our obligation and that is the league's obligation."

For the Cardinals part, the storied major league franchise sent Assistant Manager John Abbamondi and John Vuch, director of Minor League operations, to Batavia to sign a new two-year agreement with GCBC.

GCBC President Brian Paris said the new agreement and the presense of Abarmondi and Vuch signal how committed the Cardinals are to working with GCBC, the Red Wings and baseball in Batavia.

"They could have done this through the mail," Paris said. "They could have done this through a fax machine, but they told me they wanted to come out here and and show their support."

The Cardinals show of support for baseball in Batavia comes just a couple of weeks after NY-Penn League President Ben Hayes criticized the Dwyer field, saying it was unfit for professional baseball.

"Always, there are things that could be better, but some of the concerns may have been overblown," said Vuch. "The facility is a safe facility. There are not glaring problems. We understand the situation here and we have no concerns."

Vuch praised the community for its support of the players, from giving prospects places to live, to providing a positive environment to support their development.

"The community has always been a good host for our players," Vuch said.

(Initial Post)

September 21, 2010 - 6:56pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, alexander, Darien, Ronald J. Wendt.

On a clear night, on a straight road, at a time when none of the four people in her car were talking, cell phones weren't being used and the radio wasn't on, Rachel L. Enderle, with her hands on the wheel and her eyes straight ahead, didn't see Ronald J. Wendt's truck until a second before her Toyota Camry hit it.

Wendt, on trial for manslaughter and reckless driving, is accused of turning left on Route 20 at the location of My Saloon in Darien Center, right in front of 27-year-old Enderle's car.

Enderle's Camry plowed into the side of the Dodge Ram truck, and Enderle apparently neither hit her brakes nor swerved to avoid the accident.

Katie Stanley, 18, died as a result of the accident. She was a passenger in Enderle's car.

Alexander resident Wendt, 25, could serve up to 25 years in prison if convicted by the 12-person jury of aggravated reckless driving.

Enderle testified today that she wasn't distracted in any way prior to the accident, though she was probably going 55 mph in the 40 mph zone. The Dansville resident testified that she didn't see the lower speed limit signs when driving into the hamlet.

The only thing she remembers is seeing the maroon passenger side door of Wendt's truck just before hitting it.

"I didn't know where it came from," Enderle said.

She said she had no time to react.

"In my head and my heart, I do feel like I got my foot on the brake," Enderle said."I don’t know if pushed down on it."

While another witness testified that Wendt had his headlights on, Enderle said she didn't see the headlights of his truck approaching from the east. 

Two of the three witnesses who testified today could not recall with certainty whether Wendt used his turn signal.

Another witness, Amanda McClellan, who was standing on the recessed porch of My Saloon, and couldn't possibly have had a clear view of Wendt's truck as it approached the spot of the accident, said Wendt didn't have his turn signal on.

While Enderle said she had no time to react, another driver, Brian C. Fox, of Portageville, said he was two or three seconds behind Enderle's Toyota, managed to slam on the brakes of his pickup truck and stop five feet short of the collision.

Fox said he saw Wendt's truck -- with headlights on -- down the road before Wendt started his turn, but said Wendt turned quickly right in front of Enderle's car.

Asked by District Attorney Lawrence Friedman his opinion on whether the driver of the Toyota could possibly have had time to react, Fox said,  "There was nothing they could do."

Speed, of course, is an important factor in reaction time. 

Both Fox and Enderle testified that they couldn't say for sure how fast they were going, but there were driving with the flow of traffic.

Evidence indicates that Fox told investigators after the accident that he was going 55 mph. Today, Fox testified that he said he was going 55 because he thought that was the speed limit on that stretch of Broadway Road.

Today, he initially testified that he must have been going between 45 mph and 55 mph.

At a DMV hearing some months ago, Fox testified that he may have been going as fast as 60 mph.

McClellan testified that she thought Enderle was traveling at about the speed limit, or 40 mph. She estimated Wendt's speed to be between 30 and 40 mph as he went into the turn into the parking lot, though she admitted she didn't hear his tires squeal or see his truck fishtail.

Both Enderle and McClellan testified that beer cans and bottles flew from the bed of Wendt's truck at the time of impact. McClellan said there were as many as 20 beer containers on the ground near the accident scene. 

"A man had said let’s get these cans and bottles out of here before the cops get here," Enderle said.

Testimony in the Wendt trial resumes in the morning.

September 21, 2010 - 10:51am
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, alexander, Darien, Ronald J. Wendt.

When court adjourned Monday night, there were 12 jurors sworn for the manslaughter trial of Ronald J. Wendt.

Now there are 11.

A juror was excused this morning for medical reasons.

About a dozen people from the original jury pool entered the court room today expecting to go through the interview process for the alternate jury seats, but now one of them will fill the 12th seat.

Then another juror sent a long note to Judge Robert C. Noonan this morning raising a number of concerns that he said came up over night related to his job. The juror also apparently discussed his situation with another juror.

After interviewing the juror who wrote the note, Noonan declined to dismiss him from service, saying that under New York statutes, once a juror is sworn the bar for removing a person from the jury becomes much higher.

Opening arguments in the case once all 12 jurors and alternates are seated.

September 21, 2010 - 10:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A young man who by many accounts is a good kid from a good family, but who got caught up in, by his own admission, extensive drug dealing, is going to prison.

Dyllon E. Soccio, 20, of 134 Tracy Ave., received a two-and-a-half year sentence from Judge Robert Noonan this morning. Under terms of what is known as "shock camp." Soccio would be eligible for parole in six months if he stays out of trouble.

On Aug. 3, Soccio pled guilty to a charge of criminal sale of a controlled substance. He had previously pled guilty to criminal possession of marijuana.

Soccio was caught dealing drugs July 17, and was found to have drugs in his Tracy Avenue home following a raid June 23.

In an interview with probation, Soccio revealed more details of his drug dealing, according to Noonan.

If I were to make a list of 10 things not to say in a probation interview, you probably said five of them," Noonan said. "You almost gloat about your drug dealing and say, 'Don't give me probation because I don't want to have that kind of supervision for that long.'"

Soccio's attorney from the Public Defender's Office, William Tedford, argued that contrary to those statements, Soccio did want probation and would be a good candidate for probation, given his strong ties to the community, his complete cooperation with the court and successful participation in drug treatment.

Noonan also said that the letters of support submitted to the court included ones that came from, "people I respect."

"They're saying you are able to turn your life around," Noonan added, "and, you have the unusual recommendation from the Drug Task Force that you need shock camp."

With his parents and other members of his family in the courtroom, Soccio made only a short statement saying he took full responsibility for his actions and that he feels he's made progress in his treatment.

"Given the chance, I'd like to continue what I'm doing," Soccio said.

Soccio was also forced to forfeit more than $2,000 seized during the drug raid.

Previously:

September 21, 2010 - 10:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Raymond E. Joseph III, 34, of 8683 Hopkins Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Joseph allegedly had contact with a protected person at 5:15 p.m., Sept. 15. The incident was reported Monday. Joseph was located and arrested. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.

September 20, 2010 - 8:31pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

A person reportedly tried to steal money from the cash register at the Subway on East Main Street by reaching into the drive-thru window.

An employee confronted the suspect and they began to fight.

The suspect then fled in the direction of Masse Place.

The suspect is described as a white male in early 20s wearing a blue shirt.

An employee chased the suspect and lost him in the area of the three houses on Masse Place, unsure if he went into a house or disappeared in the area.

UPDATE: Additional description: 6'0", 200 lbs, short blond hair, mustache, wearing blue jeans and red boxers.

UPDATE: There's some thought the suspect may have entered the construction area and then headed toward Swan Street. Readers on Swan Street (I know we have a few) should be alert.

September 20, 2010 - 8:06pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, alexander, Darien, Ronald J. Wendt.

By 6 p.m. today, the 12 jurors were picked who will decide the guilt or not of Ronald J. Wendt, accused of manslaughter, DWI and reckless driving in an accident that took the life of an 18-year-old Dansville girl.

In the morning, Tuesday, court will convene to select alternate jurors, with opening arguments to begin later in the day.

After the jury was picked, and the jurors and prospective alternates left, Judge Robert Noonan ruled that District Attorney Lawrence Friedman will not be allowed to use a PowerPoint presentation as part of his opening statement.

Noonan said there was no case law he could find allowing PowerPoint to be used in the opening summation, though there is case law to support its use in closing. Noonan said he would change his ruling if Friedman could find a prior ruling allowing its use.

September 20, 2010 - 4:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Darien.

jeffery_frederick.jpgThe intense search for Jeffrey Fredericks is over, but the search goes on, according to Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble.

After three days of a multi-agency search of the woods and fields around Fredericks' Sumner Road home, efforts to find him -- or what happened to him -- have been scaled back.

Authorities are taking a more targeted approach, going after specific areas as leads indicate.

Bloodhounds were used Saturday and another "hot spot" -- as Dibble calls them -- was going to be searched today.

The 66-year-old Darien resident has been missing since Wednesday when he didn't show up for a 1 p.m. shift at his work, and his family came home and found all of his cars still parked at the house.

"We've had some calls come in that say maybe you should look here, or maybe you should look at that," Dibble said. "We've been talking to his fellow employees and trying to run down anybody who might have had recent contact with him to see if there's anything we're missing."

The presumption has been that Frederick left on foot, but Dibble said that especially at this point, all possibilities are being considered and examined.

While officials initially said Frederick may have been suicidal, Dibble said that certainly isn't the only scenario under investigation.

"Anything is possible," he said.

September 20, 2010 - 3:36pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, lewiston road, traffic, Park Road.

roadwork_parkroad.jpg

Crews are completing roadwork at the intersection of Lewiston and Park roads, creating a good deal of congestion in the area.

September 20, 2010 - 3:27pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield, Oakfield Pharmacy.

oakfieldpharmrob.jpg

A Batavia man who allegedly attempted to rob the Oakfield Pharmacy today didn't get very far.

The pharmacist and another employee took a chance that the man didn't have a weapon and wrestled him to the floor, pinning him there until State Police arrived.

Cain A. Catino, 39, of Seven Springs Road, allegedly entered the shop at 12:30 p.m., went behind the counter and demanded hydrocodone.

An employee in the back of the store immediately called 9-1-1.

While law enforcement was in route, Catino was reportedly subdued by the pharmacy's owner. Catino had left his car in the parking lot with the engine running.

An ambulance was requested to the scene to check on an employee, and the employee was treated at the scene, but not taken to a hospital.

It's not believed that Catino had any accomplices, and though he reached in his pocket like he might have a weapon, he did not display one.

The State Police are handling the investigation. The Genesee County Sheriff's Office also responded to the scene as well as the Oakfield Volunteer Fire Department ambulance.

The case is still under investigation and no more information is available at this time.

(initial report)

pharmacysuspect.jpg

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