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January 8, 2014 - 7:17am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Oakfield, bergen.

Evan Ryan Kotarski, 22, of Oak Street, Oakfield, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, driving under the combined influence of drugs and alcohol, unlawful possession of marijuana, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, speed not reasonable and prudent and failure to keep right. Kotarski is allegedly the driver of a vehicle involved in a one-car accident at 11:45 p.m. Sunday on South Pearl Street Road, Oakfield. Kotarski's car reportedly spun out and struck a fire hydrant and a utility pole. Kotarski allegedly fled from the scene, but was located a short distance away.

Tyler Pasquale Schroder, 21, of Lewiston Road, Oakfield, was arrested on a bench warrant for alleged failure to pay the fine on a petit larceny charge. Schroeder was arrested following his release from the Wyoming County Jail on an unrelated matter and taken to Elba Town Court for his alleged failure to pay the fine on a petit larceny charge. He was jailed on $600 bail.

Oscar Enrique Martinez, 31, of Federal Drive, Batavia, was arrested as an alleged fugitive from justice. Martinez was being held at the Buffalo Federal Detention Facility in Batavia and was awaiting deportation. Martinez reportedly has 15 aliases and was being held under the name of Andres Luna-Nogroto. He was identified as by Manatee County, Fla., officials as a subject wanted for alleged sexual battery. Martinez was arraigned in Town of Batavia Court and ordered held without bail pending an extradition hearing.

Carlos Enrique Reyes, 39, of 1259 Lyell Ave., Rochester, was arrested on a warrant for alleged criminal contempt. Reyes was arrested upon his release from the Monroe County Jail, where he was held on an unrelated matter, for alleged failure to appear in Bergen Town Court. Reyes was arraigned and released on condition that he submit to a DNA test and return to court on Jan. 15.

Robert L. Kaufman, 52, of Akron Road, Akron, is charged with trespass and stalking in the 4th degree. Kaufman was arrested following a complaint of harassment reported at 12:40 p.m. Jan. 5 at an undisclosed location in the City of Batavia. Kaufman was jailed on $2,500 bail. No further details released by Batavia PD.

Juan A. Roman, 36, of Portland Avenue, Rochester, is charged with harassment, 2nd, three counts of endangering the welfare of a child and criminal contempt, 1st. Roman was allegedly involved in a domestic dispute at 11:30 a.m. Saturday at a location on Ellicott Street. Roman was arraigned and ordered held without bail. No other details released by Batavia PD.

January 7, 2014 - 3:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, accident, Alexander.

A head-on collision is reported at 9450 Alexander Road, between Dodgeson and Pike, Alexander.

Alexander fire and Mercy EMS responding.

A chief on scene reports there appears to be no injuries.

Because of server issues, we won't likely be able to update this post if there are updates.

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

There are two accidents reported -- one on West Main at Lyons and the other in Darien on Route 20 near Harper Road.

The accident in the city is reportedly head-on, but with one minor injury.

Minor injuries also reported in Darien. The conditions there are described as zero visibility.

Alexander is asked to close Route 20 to westbound traffic.

From the fire in Pavilion, Pavilion fire is back in service.

Because of ongoing server issues, it will likely be impossible for us to update this post.

January 7, 2014 - 10:03am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather.

Here's an idea of what near zero-visibility looks like at Main and Ellicott. Driving conditions are tough and for the most part, there isn't a lot of traffic on area roads.

James Koenig shoveling his drive on Summit Street.

Daniel Wilson shoveling his drive on Vine Street.

Holland Land Office Museum.

The old Firehouse on West Main.

The County Court House, which is closed today.

The back of St. Jerome's.

January 6, 2014 - 9:36am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Attica, crime, Le Roy.

Deborah A. Blackmar, 50, of Le Roy, Miranda A. Ralston, 27, of York, and Aaron M. Higgins, 33, of York, are all charged with petit larceny and conspiracy, 6th. Ralston and Higgins are also charged with criminal possession of stolen property. State Police in Warsaw accuse the trio of stealing, on two separate occasions in December, merchandise from the Walmart in Warsaw. The items allegedly stolen include two flat-screen TVs, a Blue Ray disc player, a laptop computer and other items, with a total value of $1,500. Most of the items were allegedly recovered at a residence in York. The Sheriff's offices in Livingston and Genesee counties, along with Le Roy PD, assisted in the 10-day investigation, which culminated in the Dec. 28 arrest of the three suspects.

Donald E. Cameron Jr., 54, of 9200 York Road, Le Roy, is charged with DWI and refusing to take breath test. Cameron was arrested after Le Roy PD was dispatched to McDonald's to check on the welfare of a woman. By the time, officers arrived, the woman had left McDonald's, but was located in a vehicle operated by Cameron. She was fine, but upon further investigation, officers determined that Cameron had allegedly been driving drunk.

Justin Samuel Fagan, 28, of Ellicott Street, Batavia, is charged with assault, 2nd. This is an upgraded charge. Fagan was arrested and initially charged with third-degree assault on Dec. 29 following an alleged incident at the Blue Dog Saloon in Attica. The upgraded charge alleges serious physical injury to the victim.

Michael Christopher Schulz, 31, of Buffalo Street Road, Attica, was arrested on a Family Court warrant. Schulz was arrested by Attica PD on a Family Court warrant and turned over to the Genesee County Sheriff's Office. Schulz was jailed on $2,000 cash bail or $4,000 bond.

Troy Christian Shepard, 31, of Tracy Avenue, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Shepard is accused of shoplifting at Walmart.

January 5, 2014 - 10:49am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

A natural gas leak is reported at the Rite Aid at Lewiston and West Main Street roads Batavia.

The building is evacuated.

Town of Batavia fire is on scene.

National Fuel is in route.

UPDATE 11:03 a.m.: National Fuel is on scene.

UPDATE 11:28 a.m.: Town of Batavia in service. The scene is turned over to National Fuel.

January 4, 2014 - 8:09pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

An off-duty emergency dispatcher says he was apparently in the right place at the right time tonight when two men tried to pull off a heist of drills from Home Depot on Veterans Memorial Drive.

Nate Fix, who is also a Town of Batavia Fire 1st assistant chief and part of the private security detail at Darien Lake on concert nights, said his wife, Kayte, asked him to drive her up to Home Depot to get a knob for a kitchen cabinet at about 7:30 p.m.

While waiting, Fix called the dispatch center with a work-related question. While on the phone he noticed a man run from the big double glass doors of Home Depot carrying several drills.

"I knew something wasn't right because I could see the lights flashing of the alarms going off," Fix said. "The car started rolling before the guy even jumped in it."

Fix immediately informed dispatchers about what he just observed and deputies were immediately summoned to the area.

Fix followed the car and he figures the driver knew he was being followed when the sedan pulled into the parking lot of Office Max, so Fix drove into the car wash just down the road and waited and watched.

Soon, the white sedan zoomed past his location, he said, again heading south on Veterans, so Fix pulled out behind the sedan.

The car pulled into the B.J.'s parking lot and drove behind the building. Fix waited in the parking lot for the car to reemerge.

"The car races past me, races around Applebee's and then races toward Lewiston," Fix said.

By then, multiple patrol units had arrived on scene and blocked the intersection.

According to Fix, the car stopped and the passenger ran from the vehicle, throwing the drills to the ground.

After a short foot pursuit, the suspect was apprehended by a deputy in the area of Arena Parkway.

"I guess all those nights working security at Darien Lake paid off," Fix said. "I stayed calm, though I may have sounded excited on the phone, and reported what I saw and kept the suspect vehicle in sight."

The names of the suspects have not yet been released.

UPDATE 11:14 p.m.: Arrested was Steven Michael Merriam, 25, of South Main Street, Churchville. He is charged with petit larceny and criminal possession of stolen property, 5th. A search of the sedan uncovered other alleged stolen property from a Lowe's store in Amherst.

January 4, 2014 - 2:10pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accident, elba.

A motor-vehicle accident with possible serious injuries is reported at 4167 Batavia Elba Town Line Road, west of Route 98. Elba Fire Department is responding along with Mercy medics and Town of Batavia fire. Mercy Flight is on standby. Two ambulances are needed. "Car into tree, head injury," says responder on scene.

UPDATE 2:11 p.m.: It's determined to be in the Town of Batavia's fire district. Extrication will be needed. Traffic police are asked to shut down traffic at Pekin Road. State troopers and deputies are also on scene.

UPDATE 2:14 p.m.: The road will also be closed at Route 98.

UPDATE 2:16 p.m.: Command calls for the helicopter in Buffalo to start flying to the Batavia hangar.

UPDATE 2:21 p.m.: Two helicopters -- one in Batavia and the other coming from Buffalo -- are both called to the scene.

UPDATE 2:27 p.m.: One patient has been extricated.

UPDATE 2:30 p.m.: Mercy Flight #5 has landed. The second patient has been extricated.

UPDATE 2:34 p.m.: Mercy Flight #7 has landed.

UPDATE 2:43 p.m.: Mercy Flight #5 is airborne and headed to Strong Memorial Hospital.

UPDATE 2:51 p.m.: Mercy Flight #7 is airborne and also going to Strong.

UPDATE 3:01 p.m.: Howard at the scene was told the passanger vehicle was westbound on Batavia Elba Town Line Road when it hit a snow drift and the driver lost control of the car and it struck a tree. Authorities urge drivers to be aware that snow drifts are causing dangerous driving conditions on roads throughout the county and they should use extreme caution when driving.

UPDATE 3:06 p.m.: The injuries sustained by both patients are not considered to be life-threatening.

UPDATE 3:12 p.m.: Town of Batavia command is putting the assignment back in service and Elba Fire Police are opening the road.

UPDATE 4:46 p.m.: The driver of the vehicle was a 16-year-old female from Batavia (State Police are not releasing her name). The passenger was Ronald Filbert, 43, of Lockport. Both were taken to strong with non-life-threatening injuries. Both were conscious and alert at the time they were transported.

January 4, 2014 - 11:43am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime.

Investigators are looking for the apparently smiling woman in this photograph from the Walmart in Albion. The woman allegedly used a stolen gift card to purchase a cake at the store.

The gift card was reported stolen at the Walmart in Batavia after the owner's purse disappeared from a shopping cart when it was left briefly unattended in the parking lot while the owner loaded her vehicle with her purchases.

The card was used in Albion at 12:56 p.m., Christmas Eve.

The purse was recovered along the side of the roadway on Route 63 just south of Medina.

Anybody with information that may assist in the investigation is asked to call Investigator Kris Kautz at (585) 345-3000, ext. 3571.

January 4, 2014 - 11:13am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime, Jacquetta Simmons.
Jacquetta Simmons

Jacquetta Simmons need only serve one year in jail for punching a Walmart cashier on Christmas Eve, 2011, according to a ruling issued by the the Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department, NYS Supreme Court.

The court, in a unanimous decision, found that the five-year prison sentence handed down by Judge Robert C. Noonan on Nov. 14, 2012, was "unduly harsh and severe under the circumstances of this case."

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman said he's disappointed in the decision.

"We felt Judge Noonan's sentence was appropriate," Friedman said. "I thought it was well reasoned. It may have happened before, but I don't recall a sentence of his being reversed in his 17 years of being a judge."

The ruling means Simmons, who became a mother to her first child shortly after an appellate judge stayed her sentence in 2012, is saved from serving any further state prison time. The one-year sentence, likely to be reduced to eight months on good behavior, will be served in a county jail.

That's disappointing, Friedman said, but most importantly, the court upheld the jury's conviction of Simmons.

Attorneys for Simmons argued to the court that the jury's verdict flew in the face of the evidence presented at trial. With a dissent from Justice Rose H. Sconiers, the court upheld the jury conviction.

The jury could reasonably conclude, ruled the majority upholding the conviction, that based on the testimony and video evidence presented, that Simmons did intentionally punch Grace Suozzi.

Sconiers wrote in her dissent that she didn't believe the evidence supported that conclusion, but rather the video supported the defense contention that somebody behind Simmons had grabbed her arm and that she swung away causing her to accidentally strike Suozzi.

Friedman said he was surprised by the dissent and found it baffling.

The Batavian has no means to contact attorneys for Simmons on a Saturday for comment.

In the majority on the conviction, and joining Sconiers in reducing the sentence, were justices Henry J. Scudder, John V. Centra, Stephen K. Lindley and Joseph D. Valentino.

The case is remitted to Noonan's court for formal sentencing. No date has been set yet for re-sentencing and Simmons remains free in the meantime.

The sentence reduction is a real disservice to the victim and her family and the community, Friedman said.

"Having gone through this and seeing the impact this had on Mrs. Suozzi, her family, a lot of people in the community who knew her and cared about her -- all of that is something that is lost in the appeal process," Friedman said. "It's one punch, but more than the physical harm is the emotional harm. It really affected her life as far as her ability to return to work and go out and about. She's a very nice lady and this sentence doesn't do her justice."

The Batavian first broke the story of the Simmons case in 2011. For a complete archive of our coverage, click here.

January 3, 2014 - 7:39pm
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accident.

A one-vehicle rollover, unknown injuries, is reported on the westbound Thruway at mile marker 386.6. Mercy medics and Town of Batavia firefighters are responding.

UPDATE 7:51 p.m.: There are two occupants. Both are sign-offs.

January 3, 2014 - 6:22pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, sports, youth sports.

The Batavia Mites Firland Flyers Hockey Club played in a three-day tournament in Greece recently and went undefeated to win the team's division. The Flyers participation in the tournament was only possible because of a generous donation by the City of Batavia Professional Firefighters Association. To show their appreciation, the Flyers and their coaches wanted to pose for a picture with members of the firefighters association.

January 3, 2014 - 11:40am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather, Ascension Parish.

Jim Fasano was out clearing away the snow around Ascension Parish Church on South Swan Street this morning.

Fasano said the church's regular maintenance man had to go into the hospital for surgery, so all of the parishioners are pitching in and helping with the upkeep of the church and grounds.

"It's a big job," Fasano said.

The National Weather Service reports the current temperature in Batavia is 2 degrees. A wind chill advisory remains in effect until noon, and a new advisory has been issued for 9 tonight through 4 a.m., Saturday.

The forecast further out is for potential heavy lake effect snow Monday or Tuesday and continued cold and wind chill. The chance of snow for Monday and Tuesday is listed at 50 percent.

January 3, 2014 - 2:51am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, fire.

A working structure fire is reported at 4054 W. Main Steet Road, the Sunset Motel, Room #12. All available manpower is requested out of the Town of Batavia Fire Department. The motel has been evacuated.

UPDATE 2:53 a.m.: A crew from Oakfield is requested to fill in at Batavia's Station #1.

UPDATE 3:02 a.m.: "We've got to get ahold of this room," says a firefighter as the crews work to contain the fire to Room 12. "...We've got to vent this roof. I don't know how far it's got across these eaves." Smoke is showing from the north gable end.

UPDATE 3:07 a.m.: An engine and manpower from East Pembroke is called to the scene.

UPDATE 3:12 a.m.: There's no evidence of eastward extension of the blaze. They've vented the roof.

UPDATE 3:14 a.m.: National Grid is called in.

UPDATE 3:21 a.m.: Town code enforcement officer Dan Lang is called in, along with the American Red Cross to assist the motel dwellers. "The (motel) owner has no idea where the electrical shut off is," says a firefighter. No ETA for National Grid. A second ambulance is requested, a male with difficulty breathing will likely need to be transported to a hospital.

UPDATE 3:23 a.m.: Command reports fire is out. "Code enforcement Gerald is responding."

UPDATE 3:27 a.m.: They broke a lock to access the electrical circuit panel, which is located at the rear of the motel's west end. There is still smoke in the crawl space.

UPDATE 3:28 a.m.: The smoke in the crawl space is getting heavier. A thermal camera will be used to try and locate its source.

UPDATE 3:44 a.m. (by Howard): The building will need to be vacated for the night. Lodging is needed for the residents of at least four rooms.

UPDATE 4:12 a.m. (by Howard): Some units being put back in service.

UPDATE 4:43 a.m.: Town of Batavia is back in service. Firefighters contained the fire to a single room. Two tenants need to be relocated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One person reported seeing somebody performing CPR on the child.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

January 2, 2014 - 5:38pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather.

Batavia was hit with a full blast of winter today with cold, wind and snow, but life went on.

The National Weather Service issued an advisory for this evening indicating we can expect more of the same overnight and travel conditions could be difficult.

Above, Shaun Coburn, a carrier for the Batavia Daily News, delivers papers on Lincoln Avenue.

Tim Kemp, on Lewis Avenue.

Postal carrier Donna Buckenmeyer delivers mail on Lewis Avenue.

Rick Adams on Ellsworth Avenue.

January 2, 2014 - 12:02pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, NYSP.

Press release:

The New York State Police along with UNYTS are giving the gift of life by hosting a blood and registry drive Jan. 3 at the State Police barracks at 4525 W. Saile Drive, Batavia.

“The New York State Police family is well aware of the importance of giving blood or by donating or receiving organs as we have seen both sides. Members and members' families have given or have benefitted from the gift of life,” said Trooper Victor Morales Troop A, public information officer.

The drive is being held during the most critical time of year for blood and is in conjunction with the UNYTS Holiday Heroes Drive, which began on Dec. 20.

“Donating blood during the Holiday Heroes campaign is an easy way to support and to give back to our communities. This blood drive in Batavia is one of three locations that we are holding drives, the first was in Clarence and the next will be at the Lockport barracks on January 8th,” said Major Michael Cerretto.

The blood drive runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and will include Donate Life Registry drive as well, where they’ll be encouraging the public to sign up to become organ donors on the NY State Donate Life Registry.

While walk-ins are welcome appointments can be made by contacting UNYTS at 716-512-7940 or www.unyts.org (Sponsor Code: 1983-Batavia or 1985-Lockport)

January 2, 2014 - 11:50am
posted by Billie Owens in batavia, accident.

A two-car accident, with one person complaining of head and neck back pain, is reported at East Main Street and Masse Place in the city. Mercy medics are on scene.

UPDATE 12 p.m.: The patient is being taken to UMMC.

January 2, 2014 - 11:44am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather, Ellicott Street.

The weather can only be described as nasty. It's 10 degrees, about four or five inches of snow is falling and it's still coming. The breeze is strong enough to add a pretty strong bite to the already low temperature.

And more is on the way. The winter storm warning remains in effect through tomorrow.

January 2, 2014 - 10:38am
posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, weather.

Press release:

Due to the Wind Chill Advisory in our area for the next two days, the Batavia Youth Center will be closed today and tomorrow (Jan. 2, 3). It is not safe for the children to be out and exposed to these cold temperatures. The Youth Bureau and Youth Center will resume normal business hours on Monday, January 6, 2014. 

UPDATES:

  • Red Osier in Stafford is closing tonight due to weather.
  • The county's swearing-in ceremony scheduled for this evening has been postponed and will take place Tuesday.

 

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