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April 19, 2017 - 11:59pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Charles Schumer, trains, agriculture, business, bergen.

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Sen. Chuck Schumer was in Bergen today to talk trains and trade.

He's concerned about volatile sweet light crude oil being shipped from North Dakota by CSX on lines that pass through many populated Upstate communities, such as Bergen, and he's ready to get tough with Canada over new barriers to imports of dairy products from WNY.

He also answered questions about a potential wall along the border with Mexico, President Donald J. Trump's tax returns, immigration and high-speed rail.

"Even with the new oil cars, if the train is going faster than 25 miles (per hour) a big explosion will occur and that kind of explosion could occur on these tracks right here in Bergen," Schumer said. "Look, there are houses all around and businesses all around."

He reminded reporters of a derailment involving fuel cars in Canada few years ago that claimed several lives.

The fuel car issue has been on Schumer's radar for a few years, but what brought him to Genesee County today to raise the issue again was the derailment of a train carrying gun powder in Batavia during the windstorm in March.

As he held an enlargement of a picture of the derailment published by The Batavian, Schumer said, "as you can see it’s frightening to look at. These are large, large cars going at a very fast speed and if they had contained flammable materials they can be dangerous."

The fuel coming through Upstate New York in recent years comes from oil wells in North Dakota that tap reserves inaccessible until new technology changed the oil business. 

That has been a very good thing, though not without a cost, Schumer said.

"It's made us much less dependent on foreign oil," Schumer said. "It’s reduced the cost of gasoline and home heating oil and other things over the years, so it’s a good thing. But they don’t refine it out there in North Dakota. It gets on our rail cars and comes right across Upstate New York and Albany. They turn south and they go to those huge refineries in New Jersey."

According to this NPR story, the number of train cars carrying oil out of North Dakota has increased 4,000 percent since 2008. It was shipped by rail because, at the time these new fields opened, there was no other infrastructure in place to deal with the new supply of oil.

The trains can be a hundred cars long, Schumer said, and that's just too dangerous. If the oil companies won't voluntarily change the way they do business, then he wants the Commerce Department and Energy Department to write new regulations requiring oil companies to burn off the mixture of methane, butane, and propane that comes out of the ground with the oil.

The natural liquid gasses, stored in a confined space, are explosive if suddenly exposed to air and a spark.

The oil companies already do what Schumer wants in Texas, he said, without government regulation.

That's one reason, Schumer said, the economic impact of his proposal would be minimal and since the gas is going to be burned off one way or another, there is no additional environmental impact by burning it off in North Dakota instead of New Jersey.

Schumer believes bringing pressure to the issue can lead to change. He said his efforts have already led to rule changes that forced rail companies to ditch older tanker cars, what he called 1-11 cars, for newer, safer tankers. 

"We pushed very hard, and it hasn’t happened as fast as I’d like, but the law now is they have to get rid of all of these unsafe cars and put safer cars in.  More than half the oil cars now are now safer."

Schumer also wanted to talk about changes in dairy import policies in Canada that he said are hurting New York dairy farmers and in particular, O-AT-KA Milk Products, which employs nearly 300 people in Batavia.

According to Schumer, Prime Minster Justin Trudeau campaigned on a promise to protect Canada's dairy industry and has since started to implement measures that are closing the market to U.S. dairy products, mostly what's known as ultra-filtered dairy product, which is used in cheese production. O-AT-KA is one of 70 producers in New York and Wisconsin that are affected by the change in trade policy.

"I'm telling Trudeau to back off because it would just lead to a lot of trouble on both sides," Schumer said.

Canada exports some $260 billion in goods to the United States, and trade with New York includes $17.7 billion in goods being shipped to New York while it imports $12.6 billion worth. Top Canadian exports to New York include aluminum ($626 million), paper ($571 million), precious metals ($444 million), motor-vehicle parts ($417 million), plastics ($354 million).

Canada has a lot to lose in a trade war with the United States sparked by a fight over dairy exports, Schumer said.

"If they persist, they’re going to suffer with their exports, not necessarily with dairy, but with something else," Schumer said. "I am just adamant about this."

He said he was surprised that Trudeau has actually been pushing the issue.

"We didn’t really think they would go through with it at the end of the day," Schumer said. "We just thought it was a campaign promise up there, that they would realize the damage it would do to the Canadian economy if we started going back and forth, back and forth, but they’re persisting, so we have to up our game."

Schumer suggested Canada's actions are a violation of the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"That shows you what a lot of good NAFTA does," Schumer said. "I’m glad I voted against it way back when."

On trade, Schumer said he agrees on a lot more with President Trump, at least the way Trump campaigned, than people might think. He's not a fan of the World Trade Organization (on the dairy issue with Canada, he said it would take the WTO six years to issue a ruling and dairy farmers don't have six years to wait); he opposed NAFTA out of concerns with trade imbalances with Mexico and losing American jobs to Mexico; and thinks more needs to be done to promote and protect American jobs.

"My position on trade, frankly, has been closer to President Trump than to President Obama or President Bush," Schumer said. "Now I just hope he follows through on all of it. That hasn’t happened yet."

Schumer does have reservations about Trump's proposed border wall with Mexico. Trump wants to put it in the 2017 budget, but Schumer said he needs to slow down and come up with a workable plan.

"Here’s what no one knows about the wall: A -- how much it would cost?" Schumer said. "Today we were told there it is an estimate of $70 billion. That’s a huge amount of money. Wouldn’t we rather have that money fixing our roads and bridges and everything here?

"Second," he added, "no one knows where it should be or what side of the river it would be on. The Secretary of the Interior, whom the president appointed, said he can’t build it on the U.S. side because it would cut off us from the river. We can’t build it on the Mexican side because they won’t have it. Maybe we have to build it in the middle of the river. There are no plans for it. So you can’t go ahead and allocate money until there are plans.

"The final thing is, eminent domain, there are tons of property owners who own land right up to the border. It would take forever to get their property and you might not even succeed in court. So instead of rushing it through, there ought to be a discussion about it."

On immigration, he said he is pushing for reforms in the H1B visa program because foreign workers should be paid less than U.S. workers.

He said he understands the concerns local farmers have about immigrant labor but didn't express much hope that anything will change soon to help them get the help they need.

He noted that last year, there was an immigration reform bill that Dean Norton, an Elba dairy farmer who was then president of the New York Farm Bureau, helped draft, that would have given farmers the relief they need, but it didn't pass and he doesn't think there will be any movement on it this year.

"We had a really tough bill and it got bipartisan support in the Senate but it never made it in the House," Schumer said.

As for Trump's tax returns, he said the president will have an easier time with tax reform if he is completely transparent about his own tax returns. He said Trump is no longer a private citizen and he should release his returns.

"He should do it because it's going to slow down tax reform," Schumer said. "Any proposal he might make for cutting something, people will say, 'is he doing that because it's good for the American people or is he doing it because it's good for his own real estate holdings?' "

The last time Schumer was in Bergen, it was to push construction of a high-speed rail line between Bergen and Churchville as a demonstration project. We've heard nothing about the proposal since then.

"We did get a big transportation budget and in that budget, there was money for high-speed rail," Schumer said. "The Republicans took out the money for high-speed rail. Now, this is an area where there is some agreement, if we could get a major infrastructure bill, there could be money for high speed rail.

"I know there is division here in Bergen about whether we should have it or not," Schumer added. "I would want to come back to the communities, but if people thought it was a good idea I would probably try to get the money."

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April 19, 2017 - 3:37pm
posted by Billie Owens in alexander, Le Roy, news, crime.

An 18-year-old male who lives on North Walnut Street, Attica, and another 18-year-old male who lives on Broadway Road in Alexander, are both charged with third-degree burglary and third-degree criminal mischief stemming from an incident which occurred in the early morning hours of July 10 on Broadway Road, Alexander. The youths, who were juveniles at the time, allegedly entered an uninhabited residence and caused damage to it using paint and varnish. They are arrested and charged following an investigation and were arraigned in Town of Alexander Court on April 18 and released under supervision of Genesee Justice. Both are due to return to court on May 9. The case was investigated by Joseph Graff of the Genesee County Sheriff's Office, assisted by Deputy Ryan Young.

Shauna Elizabeth Driscoll, 28, of Wadsworth Avenue, Avon, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. She was arrested at 8:33 p.m. on April 14 on East Main Street in Le Roy. According to the Sheriff's Office report the defendant "was issued an appearance ticket for unlawful possession of marijuana following her arrest for DWI." She allegedly possessed a quantity of marijuana in her vehicle. She is to appear in Town of Le Roy Court on May 15. The case was handled by Deputy Ryan DeLong.

April 19, 2017 - 3:30pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Oakfield, business, news, All About You'sd.

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If there had been a store around like "All About You'sd" (sic) when she was in high school, Kathy Allen says she would have been thrilled.  

She would have liked the idea that there was a place she could go to buy trend-current, name-brand clothes at a steep discount.

"I would have loved to have an Abercrombie sweatshirt but there was no way my parents were going to let me spend $125 on one," recalled the Elba native.

That's just one reason she decided to open her consignment shop at 102 S. Main St., Oakfield.

"If I had had a place like this when I was in my teenage years when I was making my own money and could spend it, I would have died to have a place like this," Allen said. "I also like the retail side of it. I like the retail management side of it. I like meeting with people."

Allen has a master's degree in Athletic Administration and Sports Management, but unless she is willing to move away from Genesee County, the job opportunities in that career field locally are limited. That's another reason she decided to go into business for herself.

The idea of a consignment shop had long been on her mind and the location she long thought would be perfect was the former photography studio on South Main.

It's 2,400 square feet with ample off-the-roadway parking.

"The first thing people say when they walk in is ‘oh, my God, this place is huge,’ " Allen said. "That’s the first thing. The second thing is ‘wow, you have really nice things’ and the third thing is, ‘I’m really surprised how it smells in here. It smells really good in here.’ "

Allen said she was determined that her consignment shop not come off as a thrift store or typical second-hand store. She's careful about what she accepts in inventory -- just quality items in good condition. Her 15 years working at Tops Friendly Market taught her about merchandising, which helped her plan the layout and displays.

A surprising number of items in the store have never been used.

"There are a lot of new things that people just bring in and say, ‘bought 'em, thought I’d wear 'em, here they are,' " Allen said.

One of the thrills of the business, she said, is "you never know what's going to come through the door."

The back of the store is filled with men's, women's and children's clothing, all clean and nicely arranged, but much of the store is given over to housewares, decorations, furniture, jewelry, accessories and other useful items.

There's also a room near the front that is mostly filled with locally made items, such as the booze bottles turned into lamps by Allen, and horseshoe art by a local crafter.

"I had a lot of local people who supplied me with some great stuff starting up," Allen said.

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April 19, 2017 - 11:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Pavilion, pavilion central school, education, schools, news.

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Elementary school students in Pavilion were entertained today by Jill Jayne, who travels the country using a face-based, rock-show format called Jump with Jill to teach kids about nutrition. The hour-long show is participatory and educational, with messages about taking care of "my body" and that fruit is sweet like candy, but gives you energy and is better for your body.

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April 19, 2017 - 8:47am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Batavia Middle School, batavia, schools, education, news.

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Jeff Maziel, of Nickle City Reptiles and Exotics, brought out a boa constrictor and invited some of the children in the audience to come up and hold it during Family Night at Batavia Middle School on Tuesday night.

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Isabelle Stearns meets Paris, a tracking K-9 with State Police. Paris's handler is Trooper Frank Velletta.

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Zharia Newton, 12, and Jeannine Mobley, work on a Mexican-themed collage.

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Asa Wooten, 13, dances to some mariachi music.

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Hailey Kirkpatric, 11, draws a book cover.

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April 19, 2017 - 8:27am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Mr. Batavia, Batavia HS, batavia, charity, news.

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John Currier, winner of the Mr. Batavia contest at Batavia High School this year, presents a check for $2,323 to Habitat For Humanity, the charity he supported through the competition. With Currier, Lauren Casey, left, board president, and Jaylene Smith-Kilner, director.

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Quentin Branciforte, runner-up, presents a check to Jeff McKinney, president of Anna's Wish, which supports families dealing with pediatric cancer.

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Ryan Bieniek, another runner-up, was out of school yesterday, so Lisa Robinson, center, student government advisor, presented the check to his charity, All Babies Cherished. From All Babies Cherished, Sue Sherman, left, director, and Becky Amico, program coordinator.

April 18, 2017 - 5:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in My-T Acres, trees, Oakfield, news.

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Every time I drive on Route 63 out to Oakfield, I always love seeing this tree off in the distance at the end of a farm field owned by MY-T Acres.

April 18, 2017 - 5:03pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in chris collins, trade, news, NY-27.

Press release:

Congressman Chris Collins (NY-27) today released the following statement after President Trump signed an executive order to support American manufacturing and bolster America’s job growth.

“In implementing a ‘Buy American, Hire American’ federal initiative, President Trump has delivered on one of his most important promises to the American people. Voters here in Western New York supported President Trump because for too long, status quo politicians have put the economic interests of foreign nations ahead of our own and have left too many promises unfulfilled.

"If we want our community and our country to succeed, we need to put people back to work and get back to ‘Made in America.’ Today’s executive action is a significant step in accomplishing those goals. I commend President Trump for putting America first and working to bring our jobs home."

April 18, 2017 - 1:21pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in GCC, creativity, schools, education, news.

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Ladi Terry leads an exercise using photos to help foster creative engagement during one of the seminar classes at today's creative conference at Genesee Community College.

The half-day event included an opening speaker and several seminar sessions on a variety of topics.

Below, Shawn Adamson talks about storytelling frame and form using examples from Pulp Fiction. Bottom photo, a marketing session.

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April 18, 2017 - 1:10pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Dunkin' Donuts, batavia, Batavia HS, news.

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Emily Murphy, a student from Batavia High School convinced the folks at Dunkin' Donuts today to let her use their sign to ask Rachel Salvadore for a prom date. No word on if she accepted.

Update: Rachel has accepted.

April 18, 2017 - 1:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, batavia, news.
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     Dwayne Pearsall

Dwayne A. Pearsall, 26, no permanent address, has been arrested and charged with crimes related to alleged sexual abuse of two children in 2012 and another last year.

Pearsall is charged with attempted rape, 2nd, two counts of criminal sexual act, 2nd, sexual abuse, 2nd, and sex abuse, 1st.

The two alleged victims in 2012 were under age 15 and the 2016 alleged victim was age 11 or younger.

Pearsall was arrested by Batavia PD following an investigation by Det. Kevin Czora and arraigned today in County Court before being jailed without bail.

People with information that may assist in further investigation or other cases of sexual abuse are asked to contact Czora at (585) 345-6311. Batavia PD can be reached at (585) 345-6350. The confidential tip line is (585) 345-6370.

April 18, 2017 - 12:29pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in infrastructure, news, michael ranzenhofer.

Press release:

State Senator Michael H. Ranzenhofer has announced today that the new budget will help to jump-start more infrastructure improvement projects throughout Western New York. The 2017-18 State Budget allocates $29 billion for transportation funding, representing a nearly $2 billion year-over-year increase.  

“The new budget delivers Upstate New York’s fair share of state transportation dollars and commits a record level of funding for critical projects. This funding boost will help to improve the condition of our infrastructure and strengthen our economy,” Ranzenhofer said.

The new budget increases funding by:
• $1.5 billion to accelerate statewide road and bridge projects;
• $65 million for local infrastructure repair projects; and
• $50 million for the local Bridge NY program.

A total of $603 million in funding will help municipalities with additional infrastructure improvement projects. The budget allocates $438 million for the Consolidated Local Street and Highway Improvement program (CHIPS), $100 million for the Pave NY program and $65 million for the Extreme Winter Recovery program.

“A record level of state funding will be going directly to local governments to help with repairs to improve Western New York’s highways, roads and bridges. Our crumbling infrastructure has been rated poor in the past. This funding is desperately needed,” Ranzenhofer said.
 

Genesee County

Municipality

2016-17 Budget* ($)

2017-18

Budget** ($)

Year-over-year Change ($)

Percent Change

City of Batavia

379,842

425,876

46,034

12.12

Town of Alabama

105,551

121,796

16,245

15.39

Town of Alexander

109,523

126,130

16,607

15.16

Town of Batavia

127,274

146,125

18,851

14.81

Town of Bergen

60,626

69,819

9,193

15.16

Town of Bethany

96,001

110,065

14,064

14.65

Town of Byron

118,132

136,721

18,589

15.74

Town of Darien

129,420

149,353

19,933

15.40

Town of Elba

94,073

108,934

14,861

15.80

Town of Le Roy

123,035

141,741

18,706

15.20

Town of Oakfield

62,166

71,370

9,204

14.81

Town of Pavilion

127,126

146,205

19,079

15.01

Town of Pembroke

117,583

135,045

17,462

14.85

Town of Stafford

116,921

134,716

17,795

15.22

Village of Alexander

10,920

12,522

1,602

14.67

Village of Bergen

24,213

27,495

3,282

13.55

Village of Corfu

16,418

18,971

2,553

15.55

Village of Elba

10,989

12,478

1,489

13.55

Village of Le Roy

91,833

105,458

13,625

14.84

Village of Oakfield

34,468

39,646

5,178

15.02

County of Genesee

2,056,583

2,297,067

240,484

11.69

 
April 18, 2017 - 10:45am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Genesee County Jail, news.

The issues of an aging jail population, women involved more often in habitual criminal activity, and a greater availability and use of illicit drugs continue to vex local officials struggling to maintain cost controls on the Genesee County Jail.

Sheriff William Sheron and Jail Superintendent William Zipfel briefed members of the Genesee County Legislature at yesterday's Public Service Committee meeting on the issues that make jail operations difficult.

The expense of female inmate transport has been an ongoing issue for the past several years and the number of female inmates has held steady recently. Some of the transports have taken deputies further away from the county because of inmates with more serious issues.

Sheron said inmates have had to be placed in jails as far away as Wayne and Steuben counties.

"These are individuals for whom we’ve exhausted every alternative to incarceration," Sheron said. "They’ve been through the cycle. They’ve been before the judge many times and, basically, there is no place to put them but in jail."

Zipfel first raised the issues of older inmates and more drug problems during budget discussions in October. The problem may not have grown since then, but it's not going away.

To illustrate the kind of tougher inmate population correctional officers are dealing with these days, Zipfel told legislators about an inmate brought into the jail Friday night. He had been combative with the arresting officers but calmed down after being admitted into the jail. He was allowed to mingle with the general population, but later in the evening, he started to cause problems. He was locked in an isolation cell.

Over the course of the night, Zipfel said, the inmate slept maybe 15 minutes.

"He kicked the isolation cell door so hard and so often throughout the night that he took it off its tracks," Zipfel said. "I had never seen that in 30 years."

He had been tested for drugs and the results were negative, but a second sample was tested for PCP, Zipfel said, and that was negative.

It was only because a county mental health worker and a judge were available on a weekend that jail officials were able to transfer him to a mental health ward at another facility.

"It’s because of those relationships that are very unique to this county, that you don’t see anyplace else, that we were able to make that happen," Zipfel said. "If we hadn’t been able to make that happen, that would have cost us more over time."

The rise in opiate use is also having an impact on the jail. More and more inmates are coming in who, if not on opiates at the time, they are addicts, and if any newly incarcerated inmate is high on an opiate, then that creates another burden on correctional officer time.

"The commission has come down and said that now if somebody is under the influence of opiates, they’ve got to go on constant watch until medically cleared, which could take some time," Sheron said. "That’s a new directive that has come up in the last six months."

The subtext of all these issues is that the Sheriff is operating an old jail not designed to house female inmates, or deal with the growing medical, mental health and substance abuse problems present in the current jail population.

A new facility would help increase command and control, officer safety, as well as better meet the medical and mental health needs of inmates, Sheron said.

“Those are the kind of issues that the corrections commission is very forthright (in telling us) that we need to address,” Sheron said.

April 17, 2017 - 4:07pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, news, batavia.
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      Andrew Kosiorek

The man who broke into a local Mexican restaurant twice in a single night with the intention of stealing from the business in January will serve from two to six years in state prison, Judge Charles Zambito ruled in County Court this afternoon.

The attorney for Andrew Kosiorek, 44, argued that given his client's troubled background with no real chance at reform, a shorter prison term with community-based assistance might be appropriate.

But Zambito said when looking at Kosiorek's lengthy criminal record -- three stints in prison, five in jail, and several violations of either parole or probation, he has had a chance to overcome his background.

Attorney Jamie Welch said Kosiorek was put into foster care at a young age, probably because his parents were drug users, and that Kosiorek has been an addict his entire life.  

Kosiorek, who admitted to a single count of burglary, 3rd, said he started using drugs when he was 12.

Welch said Kosiorek broke into Rancho Viejo on Ellicott Street only because he was drunk and high at the time.

"Since he was a young man, his issues with substance abuse have never really been addressed," Welch said.

Kosiorek said he accepted full responsibility for his actions.

"I would like to get help," Kosiorek said. "I'm too old to keep doing the things I'm doing."

Zambito agreed that Kosiorek got a poor start in life, but as an adult, there's no doubt he's had plenty of opportunities to address his addictions and he hasn't done it. He also said if he really wants to address those issues, there are opportunities in prison.

April 17, 2017 - 3:51pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Stafford, news.

A Brockport woman has been charged with offering a false instrument for filing in connection with a motor-vehicle accident where she allegedly gave false information about another vehicle hitting a pedestrian on Route 33 in Stafford.

Katelyn Marie Brown, 23, of Falling Leaf Trail, Brockport, is accused of saying a silver SUV struck the pedestrian at 3:21 p.m., March 19.

Brown allegedly told deputies that a silver SUV had been driving in front of her and struck the pedestrian before leaving the scene.

There's no evidence a silver SUV was involved in the accident.

Brown had previously been issued citations for alleged aggravated unlicensed operation, 2nd, failure to use due care and caution for a pedestrian, and moving from lane unsafely. 

The accident was investigated by investigators Chad Minuto and Joseph Graff.

April 17, 2017 - 12:19pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in accident, Stafford, news, crime.

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     Nicole Sullivan

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Also assisting in the investigation, Sgt. John Baiocco.

Top Photo: File photo.

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