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Friday, December 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Basom woman reported missing reports herself as not missing

post by Howard Owens in Basom, Alabama

A 49-year-old woman reported last week as missing is not missing, according to State Police.

According to NYSP, Joy Howard walked into a police station (the location or agency was not disclosed) and told authorities that she was not missing and she is in good health.

Friday, December 13, 2013 at 1:12 pm

Alabama man, accused of molesting two children, convicted on 28 counts of sexual abuse

post by Howard Owens in Alabama, crime

An Alabama man was convicted of child sexual abuse by a Genesee County jury this morning following a nearly two week trial.

Earl Francis Sprague, 42, of 1366 Church St., Alabama, was indicted by a grand jury on 28 criminal counts of sexual abuse as well as three counts of criminal contempt.

The jury returned guilty verdicts on those 31 counts. He was found not guilty of criminal solicitation, which stemmed from an allegation that he tried to hire a hit man to take out a witness against him.

Sprague still faces a possible trial on additional felonies contained in another grand jury indictment, including predatory sexual assault, two counts of first-degree burglary, first-degree sexual abuse, assault, 1st, and four counts of criminal contempt, 2nd.

Sprague was tried on charges that he repeatedly molested two children in 1997, 1999 and in 2001.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013 at 8:59 pm

Car into the swamp in Alabama

post by Alecia Kaus in accident, Alabama

The Alabama Fire Department is on scene at 5912 Knowlesville Road with a car partially submerged in the water.

The driver called 9-1-1 after the vehicle began to fill up with water after going off the road into the swamp.

Alabama fire units on scene say the victim has been extricated and other emergency personnel can come in non-emergency. The Shelby Fire Water Rescue unit will not be needed.

 

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 at 2:41 pm

Grand Jury indicts man for first-degree sexual abuse of child under age 11

post by Billie Owens in Alabama, byron, crime, Darien

These are the latest indictments issued by the Genesee County Grand Jury.

Patrick E. Sewar is indicted for first-degree sexual abuse, a Class D felony, for allegedly subjecting another person under the age of 11 to sexual contact on June 24 in the Town of Darien.

Saul D. Standsblack is indicted for second-degree burglary, a Class C violent felony, for allegedly knowingly entering or remaining unlawfully in a dwelling on Bloomingdale Road in the Town of Alabama on Oct. 13 with the intent to commit a crime.

Michael B. Kropp is indicted for driving while intoxicated, a Class D felony, for allegedly operating a 1995 Ford on June 17 on Freeman Road and Ivison Road, Town of Byron, while intoxicated. In count two, he is further accused of aggravated driving while intoxicated, also a Class D felony, for allegedly having a BAC of .18 or more at the time. In count three, he is indicted for aggravated unlicensed operation in the first degree, a Class E felony, for operating a motor vehicle at the time of the incident while knowing or having reason to know that his driving license was suspended, revoked or otherwise withdrawn, and the defendant was driving while allegedly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Monday, December 2, 2013 at 6:04 pm

Law an Order: Bergen resident accused of passing forged check

post by Howard Owens in Basom, batavia, Alabama, bergen, corfu, crime, pembroke

Dustin Michael Locicero, 29, of Gibson Street, Bergen, is charged with forgery 2nd. Locicero was arrested following an investigation into a complaint of a stolen check and its forged use at a location in the City of Batavia. Locicero was jailed without bail.

Thomas E. Newcomb, 42, of 27 E. Main St., Le Roy, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and endangering the welfare of a child. Newcomb is accused of striking a woman in the face with his hand during an argument.

Brandon David Gendron, 25, of Judge Road, Basom, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, uninspected motor vehicle and failure to keep right. Gendron was stopped at 11:25 p.m. Fridayon Fotch Road, Stafford, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Stephen Joseph Peters, 18, of Wyoming Road, Warsaw, is charged with petit larceny. Peters accused of shoplifting from Walmart.

David William Buchholtz, 54, of North Spruce Street, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Buchholtz is accused of shoplifting from Walmart.

Harry Lee Flatt, 68, of Fruit Avenue, Medina, is charged with felony DWI, felony driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, failure to keep right and moving from lane unsafely.

Donald Anthony Irwin, 43, of Main Road, Stafford, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon. Irwin was allegedly found in possession of a metal knuckle knife following a property damage accident at 9:12 p.m. Thursday in the Walmart parking lot.

Michael J. Wall, 39, of Oak Orchard Road, Elba, is charged with criminal obstruction of breathing and endangering the welfare of a child. Wall was arrested following an investigation into an alleged domestic incident reported at 6:40 a.m., Nov. 23.

Christopher Brian King, 22, of Pearl Street Road, Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. King is accused of ordering food at the Denny's in Pembroke and leaving without paying for the food.

Dana Robert Devin Cipra, 21, of West Main Street, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana. Cipra was arrested following a traffic stop at 12:47 a.m. Thursday on Route 77, Corfu, by Deputy Joseph Corona.

Danielle M. Stevens, 37, of Ford Road, Elba, is charged with petit larceny. Stevens was arrested after a check of video surveillance footage indicated she allegedly stole two vacuums from Walmart.

Robert Allen Norway, 40, of Lake Avenue, Rochester, is charged with violation of a Family Court order. Norway was arrested on a warrant out of Family Court.

Monday, November 25, 2013 at 11:35 am

Law and Order: Suspect in burglary in Corfu arrested in Amherst after brief foot pursuit

post by Howard Owens in batavia, Alabama, corfu, crime

Patrick Raymond Krieger, 23, of Exchange Street, Akron, is charged with burglary 2nd, criminal contempt, 1st, menacing, 2nd. Krieger was arrested in the Town of Amherst after a brief foot pursuit by State Police, the Cheektowaga PD, Amherst PD and the Erie County Sheriff's Office. Krieger was turned over to the Genesee County Sheriff's Offices on charges stemming from an alleged incident reported in the Village of Corfu at 7:10 a.m., Friday. He was jailed on $30,000 cash bail or $50,000 bond.

Shannon L. Smith, 37, of 2 Goad Park, upper, Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Smith was arrested following an investigation into a disturbance at 96 River St., Batavia.

Philip E. Wolfe, 58, of Alabama, is charged with petit larceny. Wolfe was arrested by State Police. No further details released.

Daniel T. Henning, 33, of Batavia, is charged with petit larceny. Henning was arrested by State Police. No further details released.

Monday, November 25, 2013 at 2:23 am

Rescuers put themselves at risk to save stranded hunter in Iroquois refuge

At 4:38 p.m., Bill Schutt, Alabama fire's assistant chief, is reminded the sun sets in three minutes.

"That's what I'm worried about," he says. "It's not just light. It gets colder."

His chief is out on an island in the midst of frigid water with a hunter who became stranded in the swamps of Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge on a day when temperatures dipped into the teens. One firefighter, who was with the chief, is at risk of frostbite after his boots filled with water while trying to reach the hunter.

It's too risky for the firefighters to walk out, even though they've located the hunter and he's in good health.

The hunter called for help at 2:30 in the afternoon. He started hunting at 12:30. He called for help, he said later, having spent an hour in the icy waters of the swamp tracking a deer he'd shot.

"At first the water wasn't too deep," said Colin Phillips, here from Vermont to hunt. "I was hopping from island to island out there and then it started getting deeper and deeper and I'm breaking through the ice. Finally, I reached an island and went about 50 yards and I couldn't go any further. I was exhausted."

His hands were freezing because he didn't have any gloves, but was otherwise appropriately dressed for the conditions. It was so cold that after his gun got wet it jammed with ice. He couldn't even fire a shot to alert rescuers to his location.

He was found with the help of a State Police helicopter and good tracking by Alabama Chief Gary Patnode.

As sunset neared, a hovercraft from Clarence Center returned from its crew's effort to reach the stranded hunter and the two firefighters. 

The sticks and logs popped nearly ever single floatation tube from around the boat. 

One of the crew members said that when they were about halfway to the location, the boat's stern took a nosedive into the water and that's when most of the damage was done.

The crew decided to be safe and make its way back to the shore.

"We realized, it's just a machine," he said. "It can be repaired."

As the sun's light wanes outside the command center, Jim Bouton, a coordinator with the Office of Emergency Management, learns that the weather had cleared enough for the State Police helicopter to return to the scene.

The helicopter isn't really equipped to hoist people from the ground, so the plan is for the chopper to hover right on top of the ice and pull one person at a time into the craft.

Bouton relays the plan to Schutt and looks skeptical.

"We need a plan C," he says.

A little later, scene commanders learn the helicopter from the Erie County Sheriff's Office will attempt the rescue. The two-man crew can deploy a hoist.

"I'm usually the type to remain calm and I was confident enough in our resources and our fire companies that I knew we were eventually going to get out," Patnode said after he returned safely to Casey Road. "We were already working on plans B, C and D."

When the rescue effort first started, Schutt noted, it seemed straightforward enough. Dispatchers were able to provide coordinates of the stranded hunter and he wasn't too difficult to find.

But getting him out safely proved to be harder than expected.

"The amount of water they had to go through, lightly frozen over, was the problem the hunter ran into in the first place," Schutt said. "Our firefighters could not have safely gotten back because they would have had to walk back through the water."

Alabama firefighters have all recently been through wilderness rescue training and Patnode had Thompson carrying a backpack equipped with what rescuers would need in a wilderness situation.

Except for a kit to start a fire.

"If I could have started a fire, I would have," Patnode said.

The idea of a nighttime rescue in the wilderness certainly carried an innate sense of risk.

"Any time you have a helicopter operating in the dark close to trees and people, it's definitely an elevated level of danger," said Andy Merkle, who worked the scene during most of the incident as operations manager.

His job was to keep an track of all the people and resources going in so they could be accounted for coming out.

"We want to make sure we don't come up with any more victims," Merkle said.

The first person rescued was Ryan Thompson, the firefighter with the cold feet. He was fine and was out walking around after a few minutes of rehab in an ambulance.

Thompson expressed nothing but confidence in his chief and his fellow firefighters. He said he never felt like it was a desperate situation.

"I knew it was our job and they would get us out some how," Thompson said.

Phillips was the next one brought back to the command post on Casey Road.

Upon his return, the demeanor of his brother and a friend who had been pacing the road for more than two hours went from fretful to joyous.

"You go from being absolutely terrified to utter rejoicing in the matter of two hours," said friend Matthew Laflair.

Laflair had some familiarity with the swamp area and knew what firefighters were up against.

"I know how tough it is to get back there, so to see the effort is good," Laflair said. "It's impressive to see a helicopter pulling some people out of here."

Patnode was the third person airlifted out of the swamp. He was also impressed by the effort of the Erie County pilot.

"I think he went above and beyond," Patnode said. "Maybe he went out of his comfort zone doing a night rescue like that, but he got the job done."

There were two other members of the Alabama team who got stranded in the woods. They were brought out by members of the Clarence Center Fire Department who were dressed in cold-water rescue suits.

In all, volunteers from fire departments in Genesee, Orleans, Erie and Niagara counties assisted in the rescue of Phillips.

"I owe them my life," Phillps said. "If they didn't come out and get me, I'd be dead tonight. I appreciate every second of it. They're great people."

Patnode, Thompson, Schutt, all said, "this is what we do."

So what can we say about that?

"I think you say 'Thank you,' " Schutt said. "I don't know what more you can say than that.

"These guys are out here, no paycheck," Schutt added. "They've been out here in the cold for hours, but it's something you do for your community. When you're part of a volunteer fire department, somebody calls for help, you go help. It's not something you complain about. None of these guys are going to complain about being out here cold and away from home for hours."

The initial post on this incident by Billie Owens contains a lot of details in chronological order of how the rescue went down. If you haven't read it, read it.

Bill Schutt, communicating with dispatchers early in the incident.

Patnode, center of the picture, after being airlifted from the swamp.

Top photo, Colin Phillips escorted to an ambulance after being rescued.

To purchase prints of photos, click here.

Sunday, November 24, 2013 at 3:34 pm

Hunter needs to be rescued from Iroquois wildlife refuge swamp

post by Billie Owens in Alabama

A hunter is reportedly stranded in the middle of the swamp in the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge. He called dispatch on his mobile phone seeking help and they used GPS to track his position. "He's obviously cold," and not injured, but possibly has hypothermia. The man, whose vehicle has out-of-state license plates, shot a deer and tracked it well into the swamp. He has fallen down in the swamp several times and is now chest-deep in icy water. Rescuers are staging at 968 Casey Road. Alabama Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding, along with reps from the Department of Environmental Conservation and the U.S. Forest Service. Mercy Flight is on ground standby.

UPDATE 2:36 p.m.: The State Police helicopter is available if needed.

UPDATE 2:37 p.m.: The hunter has been tracked to "smack dab in the middle" of two large bodies of water between Casey and Feeder roads. An ATV is at the rescuers' disposal, too.

UPDATE 2:43 p.m.: "I have a group of guys going in there on foot," says the Alabama fire chief. A crew from Lyndonville is requested to fill in at Alabama Station #2.

UPDATE 2:48 p.m.: Command says "Do you still have phone contact with him? Ask him to fire off one round into the air so we've got a bearing." The dispatcher replies "I'll see if he's got a whistle. ... The firearm is frozen to the point that he can't even unload it."

UPDATE 2:55 p.m.: Command says "He tells dispatch he can hear something, so maybe you guys are close." They want dispatch to ask the victim "to ping his cell" -- and/or a crew member's 9-1-1 call -- so they can see if indeed they are getting close. The crew on foot has spotted fresh boot prints on the ground. The original ATV is out of commission but two more are headed to the scene. Alexander Fire Department is assembling in its hall for possible deployment of its Gator.

UPDATE 3:01 p.m.: The State Police Helicopter has been deployed and rescuers "have a visual on it." It is hovering just west of command. The foot crew of four firefighters is northward, in the woods west of the area between two ponds where they can now see the victim. Also, a family member of the victim is on scene.

UPDATE 3:15 p.m.: "We are about 80 yards away from him, we are working our way across the swamp toward him," says a member of the foot crew. Another responder asks "Is he conscious?" The reply is that he is upright. The State Police helicopter pilot says heavy lake effect show is moving in from the Northwest and he won't be able to stay in place for much longer. The visibility is very low and, besides, he could see no place to land. He provides rescuers with the exact geographic coordinates of the victim's position. A crew member reports there is solid ice around there, and they are slogging through three feet of water, and the Gator probably can't get back there. So the hovercraft from Clarence Center is called for and stand-by crews from Clarenden and Shelby.

UPDATE 3:22 p.m.: Foot crew members are going to be sent back. The State Police helicopter has gone back to the hangar. Command says they have both the pilot's coordinates and compass coordinates, but it's difficult to discern where access paths may be. A crew member said they have so far gone 300 yards in knee-deep water and doubt that ATVs could be useful in that terrain. They await the hovercraft from Clarence Center.

UPDATE 3:32 p.m.: "Command, he's 100 yards in front of us. He's in four feet of water."

UPDATE 3:35 p.m.: It's sounding as though the foot crew members may be in jeopardy. "We're depending on the hovercraft at this point." The ATVs won't be useful. The crew members are in three feet of water and the path, and others, are not clearly discernable. They want to see if they can get the State Police helicopter back to try and better pinpoint their location at this time for rescuers to be able to find the foot crew. But command says the weather, which prompted the helicopter to leave, is likely to prevent it from responding to the scene a second time.

UPDATE 3:41 p.m.: The helicopter, with zero visibility, cannot fly. A foot crew member says "We're east of (the victim). We're trying to find higher ground. We're surrounded by water." A person says to look for a path to the east and the crew member responds "We followed the path to the east all the way here," and it apparently can no longer be clearly seen. The hovercraft and the Clarence Center crew are at the ready, preparing to enter the swamp. A rescuer says the victim "is trying to work his way to us," and they are going to set up a rehab area in the vicinity.

UPDATE 3:50 p.m.: "We're on an island in the middle of water," says a foot crew member. It is announced that a patch of landing space to the west may be a possibility if Mercy Flight is needed and is able to fly. It remains on standby.

UPDATE 3:54 p.m.: Command tells the now-stranded foot crew that the hovercraft crew of four, fully suited, is going to trek in and try to retrace the tracks and locate an access point for the hovercraft.

UPDATE 4:02 p.m.: The lost hunter and members of the foot crew have met up. The hunter "has cold hands" but otherwise seems OK. They are going to remain stationary and try to stay warm. Someone has hot packs now on his feet. One of the men is going to the edge of "the island" to try and get a visual on the rescuers looking for them.

UPDATE 4:07 p.m.: Dispatch says the Forest Service is on the way, with an ETA of two hours. A responder says "Could you repeat that? The hovercraft just went zipping by."

UPDATE 4:09 p.m.: "The hovercraft is in the middle of the pond headed your way."

UPDATE 4:13 p.m.: There is some confusion. The hovercraft is said to be in the wrong pond. But someone says that its location is in sync with the coordinates provided.

UPDATE 4:16 p.m.: They have definately found a path to the stranded men. They just need "to make a plan" to get the hovercraft to them.

UPDATE 4:21 p.m.: "We're having some issues with the hovercraft. Is it possible to walk out?" "No, that's not possible. We walked through waist-deep water to get here." Several hunters are seen walking in the area, and someone asks if perhaps their location may provide an access point.

UPDATE 4:31 p.m.: It is determined that the Clarence Center hovercraft will not be able to do the job. "But we'll need a hovercraft of some kind." "Can a boat get in there?" "There's a land mass between two bodies of water."

UPDATE 4:35 p.m.: Dispatchers are contacting Erie County and the State Police, again, for aerial aid.

UPDATE 4:36 p.m.: Meanwhile, they are going to try to re-deploy the hovercraft from Clarence Center and the men are asked to listen for it. All they can do is try to stay warm and wait.

UPDATE 4:50 p.m.: The hovercraft is not going to work. "We're going to have to go with another plan." A total of five men, including the victim, need to be rescued and they are in two separate locations.

UPDATE 5:03 p.m. Concern at the scene grows as it is nearly dark and the weather is expected to get colder. A plan involving a helicopter is under way.

UPDATE 5:06 p.m.: "We're are going to send in a team for you two and then airlift the other three," command tells a stranded firefighter. "We'll sit tight," is the reply.

UPDATE 5:11 p.m.: A helicopter from Erie County is on the way with a 10-minute ETA.

UPDATE 5:14 p.m.: A water rescue team is going to attempt to extricate the pair of men in one of the locations. The helicopter and its crew will try to get the others. The pilot asks what the condition is at the scene. There's "a few flakes in the air," but otherwise it looks good.

UPDATE 5:22 p.m.: All available manpower from Alabama Fire Department is requested to the scene's command post at Lewiston and Casey roads.

UPDATE 5:27 p.m.: "Make sure a landing zone is clearly marked in case they have to land quickly."

UPDATE 5:29 p.m.: "We're hovering above but there are so many lights shining, we can't see where the victims are," says the pilot. The responders on the ground are told to shut off all lights except in the two locations were the stranded parties are.

UPDATE 5:34 p.m.: The Erie County helicopter is hovering over the ice and "will lower the basket down for the victim." A firefighter who is with the victim has a dead radio and it's not known whether they can contact him via mobile phone to let him know about the basket drop.

UPDATE 5:40 p.m.: Dispatch is in phone contact with the firefighter who is with the victim and will remain in contact with him until the victim has been extricated.

UPDATE 5:44 p.m.: Dispatch is communicating now with the State Police helicopter pilot who is appearantly going to be able to return to the incident. The pilot asks about the location and is told "same spot as before but now the rescuers need rescuing." Meanwhile, the other helicopter pilot is asked whether the victim's firearm can be put aboard the helicopter with him or "will it have to be walked out?" The answer is pending.

UPDATE 5:53 p.m.: One issue has been getting wetsuits (for protecting from hypothermia) for at least two individuals needing rescue, as well as those who will be trying to get the wetsuits to them.

UPDATE 6:02 p.m.: The men who were to be led out by the water rescue team are now being told they will be airlifted out. The process in either of the victims' locations is done one person at a time, thus multiple trips by the helicopter(s).

UPDATE 6:47 p.m.: "OK we're coming out. Everyone's accounted for."

UPDATE 6:59 p.m.: "Alabama command -- all the men and equipment are accounted for. We're out."

UPDATE 7:43 p.m.: All responders are back in service. The Alabama assignment is concluded.

Monday, November 18, 2013 at 11:39 am

Law and Order: Motorcyclist charged with DWI following accident in Basom

post by Howard Owens in Basom, batavia, Alabama, bergen, crime, Pavilion

Thomas Monte Carlo, 57, of Lewiston Road, Basom, is charged with DWI, driving with a BAC of .08 or greater, unlawful possession of marijuana and leaving the scene of a property damage accident. Carlo was apprehended by Deputy Joseph Corona following a reported one-vehicle motorcycle accident at 7:23 p.m. Saturday on Lewiston Road, Basom.

Matthew James Florian, 25, of Slusser Road, Batavia, was arrested on a warrant related to an aggravated unlicensed operation charge. Florian was stopped by State Police on Route 5, Town of Batavia, and turned over to the Sheriff's Office on a warrant. Florian was jailed on $200 bail.

Michael Scott Vanburen, 46, of Alexander Road, Batavia, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana, unsafe backing and consumption of alcohol in a vehicle. Vanburen was arrested after he reportedly backed his 2004 Pontiac GTO out of his driveway, across the road and into a ditch at 12:27 a.m. on Saturday.

Dana Lewis Toates, 19, of Roosevelt Highway, Hilton, is charged with unlawful possession of alcohol under age 21. Toates was reportedly a passenger in a vehicle stopped for a traffic violation and found to allegedly be in possession of alcohol.

Corey M. Vickers, 29, of Morrow Road, Pavilion, is charged with aggravated unlicensed operation, unlicensed operation and stopped on pavement. Vickers was charged after being observed by a Wyoming County deputy allegedly stopped on the roadway in the Town of Perry, outside of his vehicle, vomiting. Vickers' driving privilege was suspended after he allegedly failed to appear for a summons in the Village of Portville.

Alissa A. Fodge, 23, of Bergen, is charged with grand larceny, 3rd. Fodge was arrested by State Police in the Town of Barton for an alleged act reported Oct. 18. No further details released.

Saturday, November 16, 2013 at 6:10 pm

Car wreck at Meadville and Salt Works roads, West Alabama

post by Billie Owens in accidents, Alabama

A motor-vehicle accident with injuries is reported at Meadville and Salt Works roads in West Alabama. Alabama Fire Department and Mercy medics are responding.

UPDATE 5:22 p.m.: A responder on scene says all parties involved will be sign-offs. Two flatbed tow trucks are called.

UPDATE 5:43 p.m.: The Alabama assignment is back in service.

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