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Thursday, January 2, 2014 at 8:49 pm

Investigators find car involved in fatal accident on Ledge Road in August was mechanically sound

post 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.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014 at 11:25 am

Possible chimney fire on Fisher Road, Oakfield

post by Billie Owens in Alabama, east pembroke, elba, fire, Oakfield

A possible chimney fire is reported at 6842 Fisher Road, Oakfield. Flames were seen shooting from the chimney, but no flames or smoke are showing now, says a firefighter. The residence has been evacuated. Oakfield fire is on scene. Mutual aid response was cancelled but units are asked to stand by in their quarters from Alabama, Elba and East Pembroke.

UPDATE 10:41 a.m.: Oakfield fire back in service.

Monday, December 30, 2013 at 8:47 am

Car hits Arrowhawk Smokeshop

post by Howard B. Owens in Basom, accident, Alabama

A car has hit a building at 852 Bloomingdale Road, Basom, the Arrowhawk Smokeshop, and a person is reportedly unconscious.

Alabama fire and Mercy EMS responding.

UPDATE 8:40 a.m.: Alabama back in service.

Thursday, December 26, 2013 at 12:38 pm

UPDATED: Vehicle rolls over into water, passenger trapped, on Route 63 just south of Orleans County

post by Billie Owens in accidents, Alabama

A car reportedly rolled over and careened into water, of undetermined depth, just south of the Orleans County line on Route 63. Unknown injuries, but a witness reported one person trapped on the passenger side. Alabama fire and Mercy medics are responding along with mutual aid from Shelby, whose crew will be wearing water rescue gear. Mercy Flight is unavailable due to weather.

UPDATE 11:40 a.m.: About five people at the scene have been attempting to extricate two victims, who told them they had been in the water for two hours. A tow truck will try and pull the vehicle out, which is "completely upside down, only the back wheels sticking out of the water right now." Route 63 at Roberts Road will be shut down to southbound traffic.

UPDATE 11:44 p.m.: The incident is so close to the county line, but it's deemed to be just over the line in Orleans. Mercy medics from Genesee County have arrived along with Alabama fire.

UPDATE 11:50 p.m.: Both victims have been extricated and are inside the ambulance.

UPDATE 11:58 p.m.: At least one of the patients is being taken to the hospital in Medina.

UPDATE 12:06 p.m.: Dispatch is informed that Orleans County is in command of the accident scene and Alabama is assisting.

UPDATE 2:09 p.m. (by Howard): One person is dead as a result of this accident, the Orleans County Sheriff's Office has confirmed. The names of the victims have not yet been released, but the male occupant of the vehicle was pronounced dead at Medina Memorial Hospital. The female occupant is being treated at the hospital.

According to the OCSO, the vehicle was southbound on Route 63 at 11:35 a.m. when the driver apparently lost control. The vehicle crossed the center line and left the roadway on the east side of Route 63 and overturned, coming to rest in flooded swampland.

A Shelby Fire Department pumper pulled the vehicle out of the water and onto the roadway. Both occupants were extricated and transported by ground ambulance to Medina. 

The male occupant was pronounced dead at 12:31 p.m.

Deputy J.W. Halstead, OCSO, responded to the incident. He was assisted by sergeants D.W. Covis and G.T. Gunkler, and Investigator C.L. Black. State Troopers stationed at both Albion and Batavia also assisted at the scene. The incident remains under investigation by the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office.

UPDATE 6:01 p.m.: The Orleans County Sheriff's Office has released the identities of the two people involved in the crash in the Town of Shelby. The driver of the 1998 Pontiac sedan is David M. Russo, 43, of Stafford, who died at Medina Memorial Hospital at 12:31 p.m. His female passenger was Lisa A. Stanley, 40, of Le Roy, who was treated at MMH, then transferred to Highland Hospital in Rochester. The press release from Orleans County Undersheriff Steven D. Smith concludes "While the incident remains under investigation, it’s apparent that weather and slippery road conditions were contributing factors."

Tuesday, December 24, 2013 at 9:25 am

Man rescued from cold Iroquois swamp helps get free Muck Boots for Alabama firefighters

post by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge

When Colin Phillips returned to his Vermont home, he thought about how well his Muck Boots performed while he was stranded in the middle of a frozen swamp on the Iroquois National Wildlife Refuge.

He thought about one of the firefighters who helped rescue him. That firefighter didn't have Muck Boots. His boots leaked. They filled with water. He was in danger of frostbite. That firefighter was airlifted out of the swamp before Phillips. The rescuer was rescued first.

So Phillips sent a letter to the Muck Boot Company and suggested maybe they could send a pair of Muck Boots, perhaps for free, to this firefighter.

Last night, that firefighter, Ryan Thompson, along with every other member of the Alabama Volunteer Fire Department, received a free pair of Muck Boots, courtesy the Muck Boot Company.

Phillips drove in from Vermont to help hand out the boots.

"I wanted to show my appreciation," Phillips said. "A lot of people, get rescued and you never hear from them again. I wanted these guys to know I appreciate the small town kind of life and how people are out here."

Alabama Chief Gary Patnode said the media recognition and the gift are a great morale boost for members of his department. It's nice, he said, to have their volunteer efforts recognized.

"Typically, since we're a non-transporting agency, we load somebody in the back of an ambulance and that's the last time we see them," Patnode said. "Unless (the patient) is related to one of the members, we don't get any kind of follow-up.

"This is a good thanks for what we do," Patnode said.

Previously:

Thompson and Phillips

As soon as Thompson got his new boots, he put them on. "I'm sleeping in them," he said.

Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 6:03 pm

Kitchen fire at the Flying J in Pembroke

post by Billie Owens in Alabama, fire, indian falls, pembroke

A kitchen fire is reported at the Flying J Travel Center on Route 77 in Pembroke. Nothing is showing, according to a responder, but the restaurant is being evacuated. He also says there are no flames and that the fire is probably electrical in nature and is in the ceiling.

Pembroke, Indian Falls and Alabama fire departments responding, along with a ladder truck from Akron.

UPDATE 5:12 p.m.: They are going to open up the ceiling tiles. The gas and electricity are shut off. A light tower will be put up so firefighters can see the roof. A rep from National Grid is requested. A thermal imaging camera is requested.

UPDATE 5:25 p.m.: Fire is out. Checking for extensions.

UPDATE 5:41 p.m.: "The roof is cleared." The public health department will be notified of the incident as required. A crew from Newstead is asked to stand by in Pembroke Fire Hall.

UPDATE 5:46 p.m.: Town of Pembroke Code Enforcement will be notified of the incident as required.

UPDATE 7:21 p.m. (by Howard): The Alabama assignment is back in service, but the restaurant remains close pending code enforcement clearance.

Saturday, December 21, 2013 at 2:28 pm

House fire on Main Street in Oakfield

post by Billie Owens in batavia, Alabama, fire, Oakfield

A house fire with light smoke showing is reported at 32 S. Main St. in Oakfield. Mercy medics are on scene and Oakfield Fire Department is responding along with mutual aid from the Town of Batavia and the city's Fast Team. Alabama is asked to fill in at the Oakfield hall.

UPDATE 1:30 p.m.: Alabama is asked to reroute and go to the scene.

UPDATE 1:38 p.m.: National Grid is called to the scene. No ETA.

UPDATE 1:41 p.m.: A thermal imaging camera is requested.

UPDATE 1:45 p.m.: Elba Fire Police are called to shut down traffic at Orchard and Main, and at Main and South Pearl. The fire is knocked down. They are checking for extensions.

Friday, December 20, 2013 at 4:50 pm

Basom woman reported missing reports herself as not missing

post by Howard B. 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 B. 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.

 

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