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March 8, 2010 - 2:53pm

Vehicle crashes into house on South Main Street

posted by Billie Owens in accidents.

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Batavia city police, fire and Mercy EMS have responded to a motor-vehicle accident at 28 South Main St. wherein a vehicle crashed into a house.

The driver is alert and talking but there are injuries. Mercy Flight has been notified and is on "hot standby" until further notice.

The city code representative is in route to the scene. National Fuel and National Grid have been called. The gas has been shut off. Traffic control police are on scene.

accidentsouthmain02.jpgUPDATE (3:06 p.m.): This is apparently the result of a law-enforcement ground pursuit gone wrong. A woman at the scene said she was standing outside her house when she saw a Sheriff's Deputy's car chasing a black 4X4 pickup truck at high speed. The driver lost control of his pickup truck and it zoomed off the road and into her house, narrowly missing her, and killing her.

Mercy Flight is set to land at a nearby park's tennis court.

UPDATE (3:19 p.m.): Sheriff's Investigator Kristopher A. Kautz said the chase started on Route 33, west of Reed Road, in the Town of Batavia. The suspect's pickup was headed eastbound and the Sheriff's Deputy was westbound, when the law officer suspected the truck driver was speeding. The deputy turned around to pursue the suspect but he would not stop. Road spikes were put down somewhere west of the Roundabout. The suspect's pickup hit the spikes, flattening the tire(s) and lost control. That's when the vehicle jumped the roadway and careened into the woman's house, barely missing her. No other violations were pending or suspected concerning the suspect and his pickup.

UPDATE (3:28 p.m.): Deputies Chris Parker and John J. Zola, who weren't involved in the chase, said they laid down the spikes in the area of Route 33 and Pearl Street Road. Parker said they're purposely designed to let the air out of tires slowly, so no instant loss of control occurs. The suspect continued to drive well after hitting the spikes, and as he neared the Roundabout, he lost control. Each of his two front tires were pierced by spikes. Batavia Daily News reporter Matt Surtel was heading back to the newspaper office from Wyoming County when he got caught up in the roadway chase on Route 33.

UPDATE (3:56 p.m.): According to Batavia Police Det. Rich Schauf, the house was knocked off its foundation and, basically, the truck is holding up the house. Thus, they will leave it right where it is temporarily until the homeowner can make repairs shore up the foundation. The American Red Cross has been called to assist the occupant(s) with housing, etc. Schauf confirmed that the suspect has no known outstanding warrants.

Anthony Timberlake
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The police need to either stop the chase completely or back off before getting to locations like this. It's absolutely ridiculous that they would continue a chase in this area, especially with the traffic right now. Glad to know a speeding ticket was almost worth this woman's life.
daniel cherry
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I agree with Anthony.Aren't there laws that in certain cases where lives can be endangered to call off the chase?Didn't they know his plate number?
Howard B. Owens
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Where would be if criminals knew that getting away with crime simply mean they had to drive fast and get away? If the police had a no-chase policy, it would be quite easy to plan their getaways accordingly.
barb king
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How about PULL OVER when you are supposed to. That would avoid the problem of trying to find someone else to blame for your acts of idiocy.
Jason Murray
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howard there is more then one police vehicle in the city of batavia and radio signals travel faster then a truck. if they backed off they would of been able to coordinate around the area to keep him from getting away, what if he plowed into a school bus or worse kids walking on the sidewalk. a speeding ticket is no cause for any of this im sure they either saw his plate or had a picture of it. somebody got over excited and went too far just to give a speeding ticket and it could of cost the lives of way too many people
Bob Price
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The Sheriff's cars have the plate readers on top....luckily no one was killed,but now a home is probably unlivable right now,so a family is displaced.Hey,maybe at least the roundabout slowed him down a little......
Howard B. Owens
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Jason, If you lose visual contact with the suspect vehicle, you lose risking losing it. There's just no substitute for staying with the vehicle. It's a risk, but in a situation like this, you don't know why the suspect is running, what sort of crime he might have committed. There's also no guarantee the suspect will slow down if the pursuit is stopped. What if he's drunk and keeps speeding? He could still slam into that bus load of kids. And so they saw the plate? That doesn't mean the owner of the vehicle is driving, or that the plate isn't stolen. Again, there is simply no substitute nor alternative to giving chase. It's unavoidable and necessary.
Tim Howe
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I could not agree more with Howard about this, what a foolish comment to say that the police should back off. What kind of message to you want to send to the evil people. Its ok to commit crimes, have NO respect for the law and just do what you please? INNOCENT people do not run from the police, i would be willing to bet any amount of money that once an investigation is done you will find that this guy was running because he might have just got done breaking the law, or he could have something in his truck that he was trying to hide from the police. I pray that the people in the house are ok, but the fool driving the truck appearently got exactly what he deserved, he is now in a hospital bed and after that he will be in cuffs, running from the police is a FELONY. "Giving up" on chases should not be an option....
Andrew Lathan
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Based on your reporting, The driver was suspected of speeding. Had he been moving at a dangerous high rate of speed, wouldn't the statement been different? We can only hope the officer in this situation was using good judgment. I would agree that a chase into a residential area for a speeding ticket is BS.
C D
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I'm with Anthony on this. The Sheriff's patrol cars are outfitted with license plate readers. Chasing someone through a populated neighborhood with speeds even close to triple digits is inviting disaster over a speeding ticket. Call off the chase, meet the driver at his house. Risking lives to make sure Batavia meets it's budget from traffic ticket fines is downright stupid. Another point. Unless you're going to turn on to one of the side roads off South Main, which even an experience driver will have to drop to at least 30 to make without going off the road, South Main ends at Wortendyke, which is a fairly untraveled road. Set up a road block there. Problem solved.
Bob Price
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Chris-he was headed east on 33 from Corfu-it was a Sheriff that initiated pursuit-so nothing to do w/ city at that point. I can't believe there were no Troopers on 33-they have been out like flies lately-seems like it could been avoided going into the city,especially at a time when children were getting out of school,buses on road,etc. Guess we'll find out the facts in a day or so-my money is on the driver being drunk......
Chris Charvella
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Many municipalities have no-chase policies. The reasoning behind it is simple: Police chases put civilians at risk and high-speed chases typically end up with one or more crashes that can involve Joe Innocent Bystander. Today's crash was a decent example of what can go wrong. The cops did exactly what they were supposed to do today and they should be commended for it. The guy in the car put people's lives in danger and I'm sure he's going to pay dearly for it. Using the experience gained today, local law enforcement may choose to rethink whatever chase policy they have, but whatever they come up with, I'm sure they'll have the best interest of the public in mind. Keeping the peace is never easy and our Troopers, Sheriffs and City Police have to make tough decisions all the time.
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I like how the sheriffs and police were doing what we pay them to do, yet they are the "bad guys"...not the person allegedly breaking the law. When people decide to not follow the rules people can get hurt...that is why we have people to enforce the laws.
Howard B. Owens
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Chris wrote, "Call off the chase, meet the driver at his house." And how do you prove who was driving the vehicle? And at the time you initiate the chase, how do you know this isn't some criminal thug who needs to be caught right now in order to protect society. In this case, it turns out to be a decent kid from a decent family (I'll be posting his name in the top story shortly). But the point is, when you're a cop and you see a guy speeding by at 100 mph, there is no way to know who he is or what he's running from. Nor will not chasing him do any better of a job of guaranteeing civilians. Being a cop is a hard, tough job that is fraught with risks. Chasing and not chasing are both risky propositions. Think about this, the cop is putting his own life at risk in chasing. These men and women put their lives on the line for us every minute of every day and in situations like this, I'm just not interested in second guessing them. There may be a time and place to do that, but I see no logic in saying a fleeing suspect shouldn't be chased.
John Roach
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Nice to sit back and second guess the police from the comfort of home.
C. M. Barons
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I didn't see Chris' comment as second-guessing. He noted that some communities have taken stock in the outcomes of police chases and decided that it is safer for all involved not to engage in high-speed pursuit. Unless the culprit is on a dirt bike, there isn't much chance he/she will evade arrest.
Howard B. Owens
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C.H., there's two Chris's ... well, three, really ...
Anthony Timberlake
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Howard said "But the point is, when you're a cop and you see a guy speeding by at 100 mph, there is no way to know who he is or what he's running from." Who said he was going 100 mph? I'm assuming that the cop was trying to do a routine 10 over, and the kid freaked out. Simple as that. I understand that you don't know why the kid is running, but sometimes you have to use judgment. I don't think that the judgment was necessarily bad, but I think it easily could have killed this young woman today.
C D
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C.M. Barons said, "I didn't see Chris' comment as second-guessing. He noted that some communities have taken stock in the outcomes of police chases and decided that it is safer for all involved not to engage in high-speed pursuit." To clarify, this high speed pursuit took place in a well-populated neighborhood. If all high speed pursuits were called off, this would become a problem. I'll use current example from my own life with as little details as possible as an analogy. I've been harassed, amongst other things, by two individuals for a few months now. Irritatingly enough, attempting to handle this issue myself directly or involve the Batavia PD has not helped and has made the situation far more stressful. As much as I want to see these individuals punished for what they have and are doing now instead of later, I realize that if I sit back, exercise some patience, said individuals will end up in trouble and punished all on there own if this problem is left alone not directly pursued. I'm not second-guessing an officer's decision. In a situation like this, all officers involved try making the best decision possible with very little time to think it over. They're put in a position where they have to deal with a potentially volatile and life-threatening situations with little time to think what they say and do over. People are put into similar situations on a daily basis, myself included. It's not easy. I know I think of different ways I could have handled a situation after the moment passes. I'm simply noting that in a high speed pursuit in a populated neighborhood, it can (and did) make a volatile situation worse by directly "attacking" the problem instead of stepping back and handling it indirectly. As a person, I'm rather upfront and blunt. I've inherited my father's "cut-the-crap, no bullshit" mindset, as I usually call it. Stepping back from a problem instead of directly approaching it is not an easy thing for me to do. I'm not saying any of this lightly.
Tracy Gaus
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We live down 33 and have people like this kid going these high rates of speed and passing unsafely all the time. We saw the pursuit as it went past our place and knew right then it would not end good. This kid was not going to slow down and there is no area he was heading that he could have made it thru without slowing down. I applaud the police for making sure the roads were clear before this person got to the city and could have hit cars etc. Even if they had called off their pursuit at the city line this kid was doing 100mph for less than a mile in the city limits before he was stopped. this did not get very far into the city. Thank you for doing your job.
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With an on board camera, you can prove anything within range of the lens. Police are doing what they are paid to do, like them or not. (unless they are on the other side of the Law) One of the reason for a police officer to pursue or abort the chase,risk. About a decade ago, a Batavia Police Officer, was in a chase, he hit some black ice and was lucky to live. Over thirty years ago, a Leroy Police Officer, was chasing speeders on a motorcycle, on south street road in Pavilion,Ny, he chased them right into a moving freight train, killed both riders. Its up to the person driving the vehicle to pursue or end the chase. As you see, the outcome can be injury or death for either the Police Officer or suspect. Jason Reese www.jasonreesemedia.com
cj sruger
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If that was my house, there would be a serious law suit setting up against who ever was the cause of that crash,
Anthony Timberlake
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CJ - So the police department for them deploying spike strips before a roundabout? (Only joking). I do agree, I wouldn't want to pay a dime for this.
Joe Teresi III
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This is absurd, but I suppose hind sight is 20/20 right??? Forget about the law enforcement officers actions, as long as he did not violate a do not chase policy he did no wrong. By setting up a road block the police did an excellent job in stopping this offender before ANY harm to ANY innocent bystanders happened. Everyone can say what if this happened la la la...but the thing is it didn't. So instead of trying to create an us VS the police mentality, lets back off our officers for doing what was right and lets watch this 19 year old hopefully get sent to attica for a long time.
Jason Murray
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(this isnt directed at anybody, just my rant) for everybody that says the officers were right in the chase. what if even just one person (not to mention all of the children that were getting out of school) was killed. is that worth ticketing somebody that was only suspected of speeding. how ignorant do you have to be to think that something like that is ok. your pretty much saying we are all expendable in the eyes of the batavia police departmant. u stay a safe distance behind and put a description of the vehicle out to other officers in the area. batavia in not that big of a place to hid
Howard B. Owens
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Jason, nobody is saying life is expendable, that's odd conclusion to draw from what anybody is saying. There are risks to chasing and not chasing. To say "is that worth ticketing somebody that was only suspected of speeding" is to totally miss the point of the fact that at the time of the chase, law enforcement has no clue what is actually going on. To let the suspect get away is equally a profound risk as any other hypothesis. Why do people keep ignoring these key points: 1) To not give chase makes it quite likely the suspect will get away. 2) To not chase is an invitation to criminals to think, "all I have to do is speed and be smart about where I go to avoid getting caught.' 3) I don't care that there is a license plate on the car and the cops have yes and cameras to get the number. That means absolutely nothing. Zilch. Because that license plate on car doesn't tell the cop who is driving. And once the car is out of site, the cop has no chain of evidence to prove who was driving. 4) Just because someone is speeding, doesn't mean that is the only thing they are guilty of. Who knows what horrendous crime they're running from. What if the suspect just kidnapped a kid and has him or her stashed in the trunk of the car? If you want to arguing against chasing based on pure speculative hypothetical (such as the speeding car crashing into kids), consider that hypothetical, too. It's just as valid. Until you can address those points, it's very hard to make a case for not giving chase.
Howard B. Owens
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Also, what if the guy going by the cop at 100 mph is drunk or out of his mind? Not chasing him isn't going to do any better of a job of protecting those hypothetical little kids or any other possible innocent victims. Not chasing doesn't serve any public protection ideal because it doesn't solve the problem. The suspect is still engaging in a dangerous activity whether he's chased or not. And in not chasing, the suspect is just as likely to engage in that dangerous activity until it ends in tragedy, where as the law enforcement engaging in trying to stop the guy as soon as possible is the best course, most logical course, to actually saving lives.
Anthony Timberlake
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Yet again, who said he was going 100mph? From what I understand, he was just minor speeding...
Howard B. Owens
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As we reported yesterday, he was going "triple digits." The press release last night also made it clear he passed the deputy at least 100 mph. But whether he was going 100, or 90 or 80, or 70 is really immaterial.
Anthony Timberlake
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I'm sorry, I must have overlooked that. And I do agree, I just think that there should be a different way to handle this, I hate to see a death happen one of these times.
daniel cherry
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In my opinion the chase should have been called off.Unless the officers 'knew' it was a dangerous criminal who had committed a serious offense.I would like to know the laws about calling off a chase to not endanger the lives and safety of others in a residential area. "the law officer suspected the truck driver was speeding". Was the officer speeding too prior to the chase?Will we ever see the video of the dash cam from the pursuing officer?Will there be transparency?I think it was a mistake.People make mistakes.Two wrongs do not make it right. The suspect has already suffered from this.I bet they wished they'd pulled over now don't they?They broke the law.They will pay for it.Someone must have been watching over them and the people in that house. If the officer has broken laws, by not stopping a chase, entering a residential area will they be punished ....like the one in the truck has been? Why has the story changed so much?

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