Skip to main content

Howard B. Owens's blog

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 9:07 pm

Cache of weapons reportedly found in home of Alabama man

post by Howard B. Owens in Alabama, crime

mug_christopher_bombard.jpgA dozen weapons, including one that was altered in an allegedly illegal manner, were recovered from an Alabama residence in an early morning raid by local law enforcement.

A silencer and large capacity magazine designed to fit the altered gun were also allegedly found at the residence of Christopher Jon Bombard, 31, of 7133 Maple St. Road.

Bombard was charged with two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, 2nd, and two counts of criminal possession of a weapon, 3rd.

The other weapons are being sent to the Monroe County Public Safety Lab for further examination.

Additional charges may be filed.

The 7:15 a.m. raid was carried out the Local Drug Enforcement Task Force, which also recovered $300 cash.

Bombard was jailed on $100,000 bail.

Also participating in the investigation and raid were the District Attorney's Office, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the Genesee County Office of Emergency Management and Mercy EMS.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 8:48 pm

Elba Democrats Select a Candidate for Highway Superintendent

post by Howard B. Owens in announcements, elba, politics

Press Release:

Monday night, Democrats in Elba held a caucus and selected a Mark Yungfleisch to run for the office being vacated by current Highway Superintendent Allan Totten. Yungfleisch is a long time Elba resident who has worked for the Highway Department in Elba previously. He is a former Elba Fire Department Assistant Chief and is currently employed at Reisdorf Oil.

Yungfleisch cited experience as his primary motivation for seeking the office. ‘I have a Class A license, I’m very familiar with the equipment and I understand the maintenance, scheduling and budgetary needs of the department,’ he said after the caucus.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 7:23 pm

Pro baseball in Batavia in 2011 likely, says Red Wings president

post by Howard B. Owens in baseball, Batavia Muckdogs, sports


Today Batavia baseball fans learned that they're not without hope that some St. Louis Cardinals prospect will be hurling an opening day pitch at Dwyer Stadium in June, 2011.

At a press conference where Cardinals officials were on hand to sign a new affiliation agreement with the Genesee County Baseball Club, Naomi Silver, president of Rochester Community Baseball said the Red Wings are prepared to support baseball in Batavia for at least one more season.

There are details to be settled before the current agreement expires on Oct. 31, but Silver said the Red Wings "will not leave GCBC in the lurch."

Without financial backing, and if a new owner is not found in time, GCBC could lose its New York-Penn League franchise and the $4 to $6 million that could be garnered in a sale.

"If the details of a sale have not been worked out, we would be willing to come in and help out Batavia and continue to run the ball club," Silver said. "I think the chances of baseball being in Batavia in 2011 are extremely strong. What role we play in that has yet to be determined."

Even so, Silver said, the club needs to be sold. The ideal buyer would be somebody committed to the community, with sufficient financial backing to keep the team in Batavia.

"We won’t walk away while we’re waiting for a buyer to come along," Silver said. "Somebody has got to be able to run this team because the St. Louis Cardinals are going to come here and expect to field a team. That is our obligation and that is the league's obligation."

For the Cardinals part, the storied major league franchise sent Assistant Manager John Abbamondi and John Vuch, director of Minor League operations, to Batavia to sign a new two-year agreement with GCBC.

GCBC President Brian Paris said the new agreement and the presense of Abarmondi and Vuch signal how committed the Cardinals are to working with GCBC, the Red Wings and baseball in Batavia.

"They could have done this through the mail," Paris said. "They could have done this through a fax machine, but they told me they wanted to come out here and and show their support."

The Cardinals show of support for baseball in Batavia comes just a couple of weeks after NY-Penn League President Ben Hayes criticized the Dwyer field, saying it was unfit for professional baseball.

"Always, there are things that could be better, but some of the concerns may have been overblown," said Vuch. "The facility is a safe facility. There are not glaring problems. We understand the situation here and we have no concerns."

Vuch praised the community for its support of the players, from giving prospects places to live, to providing a positive environment to support their development.

"The community has always been a good host for our players," Vuch said.

(Initial Post)

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 5:56 pm

Driver testifies she had no time to react before hitting Wendt's truck

post by Howard B. Owens in alexander, crime, Darien, Ronald J. Wendt

On a clear night, on a straight road, at a time when none of the four people in her car were talking, cell phones weren't being used and the radio wasn't on, Rachel L. Enderle, with her hands on the wheel and her eyes straight ahead, didn't see Ronald J. Wendt's truck until a second before her Toyota Camry hit it.

Wendt, on trial for manslaughter and reckless driving, is accused of turning left on Route 20 at the location of My Saloon in Darien Center, right in front of 27-year-old Enderle's car.

Enderle's Camry plowed into the side of the Dodge Ram truck, and Enderle apparently neither hit her brakes nor swerved to avoid the accident.

Katie Stanley, 18, died as a result of the accident. She was a passenger in Enderle's car.

Alexander resident Wendt, 25, could serve up to 25 years in prison if convicted by the 12-person jury of aggravated reckless driving.

Enderle testified today that she wasn't distracted in any way prior to the accident, though she was probably going 55 mph in the 40 mph zone. The Dansville resident testified that she didn't see the lower speed limit signs when driving into the hamlet.

The only thing she remembers is seeing the maroon passenger side door of Wendt's truck just before hitting it.

"I didn't know where it came from," Enderle said.

She said she had no time to react.

"In my head and my heart, I do feel like I got my foot on the brake," Enderle said."I don’t know if pushed down on it."

While another witness testified that Wendt had his headlights on, Enderle said she didn't see the headlights of his truck approaching from the east. 

Two of the three witnesses who testified today could not recall with certainty whether Wendt used his turn signal.

Another witness, Amanda McClellan, who was standing on the recessed porch of My Saloon, and couldn't possibly have had a clear view of Wendt's truck as it approached the spot of the accident, said Wendt didn't have his turn signal on.

While Enderle said she had no time to react, another driver, Brian C. Fox, of Portageville, said he was two or three seconds behind Enderle's Toyota, managed to slam on the brakes of his pickup truck and stop five feet short of the collision.

Fox said he saw Wendt's truck -- with headlights on -- down the road before Wendt started his turn, but said Wendt turned quickly right in front of Enderle's car.

Asked by District Attorney Lawrence Friedman his opinion on whether the driver of the Toyota could possibly have had time to react, Fox said,  "There was nothing they could do."

Speed, of course, is an important factor in reaction time. 

Both Fox and Enderle testified that they couldn't say for sure how fast they were going, but there were driving with the flow of traffic.

Evidence indicates that Fox told investigators after the accident that he was going 55 mph. Today, Fox testified that he said he was going 55 because he thought that was the speed limit on that stretch of Broadway Road.

Today, he initially testified that he must have been going between 45 mph and 55 mph.

At a DMV hearing some months ago, Fox testified that he may have been going as fast as 60 mph.

McClellan testified that she thought Enderle was traveling at about the speed limit, or 40 mph. She estimated Wendt's speed to be between 30 and 40 mph as he went into the turn into the parking lot, though she admitted she didn't hear his tires squeal or see his truck fishtail.

Both Enderle and McClellan testified that beer cans and bottles flew from the bed of Wendt's truck at the time of impact. McClellan said there were as many as 20 beer containers on the ground near the accident scene. 

"A man had said let’s get these cans and bottles out of here before the cops get here," Enderle said.

Testimony in the Wendt trial resumes in the morning.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 9:51 am

12 jurors in Wendt trial now 11

post by Howard B. Owens in alexander, crime, Darien, Ronald J. Wendt

When court adjourned Monday night, there were 12 jurors sworn for the manslaughter trial of Ronald J. Wendt.

Now there are 11.

A juror was excused this morning for medical reasons.

About a dozen people from the original jury pool entered the court room today expecting to go through the interview process for the alternate jury seats, but now one of them will fill the 12th seat.

Then another juror sent a long note to Judge Robert C. Noonan this morning raising a number of concerns that he said came up over night related to his job. The juror also apparently discussed his situation with another juror.

After interviewing the juror who wrote the note, Noonan declined to dismiss him from service, saying that under New York statutes, once a juror is sworn the bar for removing a person from the jury becomes much higher.

Opening arguments in the case once all 12 jurors and alternates are seated.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 9:40 am

Batavia man given prison term for dealing drugs

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A young man who by many accounts is a good kid from a good family, but who got caught up in, by his own admission, extensive drug dealing, is going to prison.

Dyllon E. Soccio, 20, of 134 Tracy Ave., received a two-and-a-half year sentence from Judge Robert Noonan this morning. Under terms of what is known as "shock camp." Soccio would be eligible for parole in six months if he stays out of trouble.

On Aug. 3, Soccio pled guilty to a charge of criminal sale of a controlled substance. He had previously pled guilty to criminal possession of marijuana.

Soccio was caught dealing drugs July 17, and was found to have drugs in his Tracy Avenue home following a raid June 23.

In an interview with probation, Soccio revealed more details of his drug dealing, according to Noonan.

If I were to make a list of 10 things not to say in a probation interview, you probably said five of them," Noonan said. "You almost gloat about your drug dealing and say, 'Don't give me probation because I don't want to have that kind of supervision for that long.'"

Soccio's attorney from the Public Defender's Office, William Tedford, argued that contrary to those statements, Soccio did want probation and would be a good candidate for probation, given his strong ties to the community, his complete cooperation with the court and successful participation in drug treatment.

Noonan also said that the letters of support submitted to the court included ones that came from, "people I respect."

"They're saying you are able to turn your life around," Noonan added, "and, you have the unusual recommendation from the Drug Task Force that you need shock camp."

With his parents and other members of his family in the courtroom, Soccio made only a short statement saying he took full responsibility for his actions and that he feels he's made progress in his treatment.

"Given the chance, I'd like to continue what I'm doing," Soccio said.

Soccio was also forced to forfeit more than $2,000 seized during the drug raid.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010 at 9:03 am

Police Beat: Man accused of violating court order

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

Raymond E. Joseph III, 34, of 8683 Hopkins Road, Batavia, is charged with criminal contempt, 2nd. Joseph allegedly had contact with a protected person at 5:15 p.m., Sept. 15. The incident was reported Monday. Joseph was located and arrested. He was jailed on $1,000 bail.

Monday, September 20, 2010 at 7:31 pm

Attempted robbery reported at Subway on East Main, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, crime

A person reportedly tried to steal money from the cash register at the Subway on East Main Street by reaching into the drive-thru window.

An employee confronted the suspect and they began to fight.

The suspect then fled in the direction of Masse Place.

The suspect is described as a white male in early 20s wearing a blue shirt.

An employee chased the suspect and lost him in the area of the three houses on Masse Place, unsure if he went into a house or disappeared in the area.

UPDATE: Additional description: 6'0", 200 lbs, short blond hair, mustache, wearing blue jeans and red boxers.

UPDATE: There's some thought the suspect may have entered the construction area and then headed toward Swan Street. Readers on Swan Street (I know we have a few) should be alert.

Monday, September 20, 2010 at 7:06 pm

12 jurors picked for Wendt trial; alternates next

post by Howard B. Owens in alexander, crime, Darien, Ronald J. Wendt

By 6 p.m. today, the 12 jurors were picked who will decide the guilt or not of Ronald J. Wendt, accused of manslaughter, DWI and reckless driving in an accident that took the life of an 18-year-old Dansville girl.

In the morning, Tuesday, court will convene to select alternate jurors, with opening arguments to begin later in the day.

After the jury was picked, and the jurors and prospective alternates left, Judge Robert Noonan ruled that District Attorney Lawrence Friedman will not be allowed to use a PowerPoint presentation as part of his opening statement.

Noonan said there was no case law he could find allowing PowerPoint to be used in the opening summation, though there is case law to support its use in closing. Noonan said he would change his ruling if Friedman could find a prior ruling allowing its use.

Monday, September 20, 2010 at 3:07 pm

Search for missing Darien man scaled back, but ongoing

post by Howard B. Owens in Darien

jeffery_frederick.jpgThe intense search for Jeffrey Fredericks is over, but the search goes on, according to Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble.

After three days of a multi-agency search of the woods and fields around Fredericks' Sumner Road home, efforts to find him -- or what happened to him -- have been scaled back.

Authorities are taking a more targeted approach, going after specific areas as leads indicate.

Bloodhounds were used Saturday and another "hot spot" -- as Dibble calls them -- was going to be searched today.

The 66-year-old Darien resident has been missing since Wednesday when he didn't show up for a 1 p.m. shift at his work, and his family came home and found all of his cars still parked at the house.

"We've had some calls come in that say maybe you should look here, or maybe you should look at that," Dibble said. "We've been talking to his fellow employees and trying to run down anybody who might have had recent contact with him to see if there's anything we're missing."

The presumption has been that Frederick left on foot, but Dibble said that especially at this point, all possibilities are being considered and examined.

While officials initially said Frederick may have been suicidal, Dibble said that certainly isn't the only scenario under investigation.

"Anything is possible," he said.

Monday, September 20, 2010 at 2:36 pm

Roadwork creating congestion at Park and Lewiston, Batavia

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, lewiston road, Park Road, traffic


Crews are completing roadwork at the intersection of Lewiston and Park roads, creating a good deal of congestion in the area.

Monday, September 20, 2010 at 2:27 pm

Pharmacist tackles apparent would-be robber in Oakfield store

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Oakfield, Oakfield Pharmacy


A Batavia man who allegedly attempted to rob the Oakfield Pharmacy today didn't get very far.

The pharmacist and another employee took a chance that the man didn't have a weapon and wrestled him to the floor, pinning him there until State Police arrived.

Cain A. Catino, 39, of Seven Springs Road, allegedly entered the shop at 12:30 p.m., went behind the counter and demanded hydrocodone.

An employee in the back of the store immediately called 9-1-1.

While law enforcement was in route, Catino was reportedly subdued by the pharmacy's owner. Catino had left his car in the parking lot with the engine running.

An ambulance was requested to the scene to check on an employee, and the employee was treated at the scene, but not taken to a hospital.

It's not believed that Catino had any accomplices, and though he reached in his pocket like he might have a weapon, he did not display one.

The State Police are handling the investigation. The Genesee County Sheriff's Office also responded to the scene as well as the Oakfield Volunteer Fire Department ambulance.

The case is still under investigation and no more information is available at this time.

(initial report)


Monday, September 20, 2010 at 9:55 am

Jury selection in fatal DWI case starts today

post by Howard B. Owens in alexander, crime, Darien, Ronald J. Wendt

Every few years a case comes along that the national media hypes as “The Trial of the Century.”

Jurors are being chosen today in Genesee County Court for what may not even be the local trial of the year – that label might better be applied to the Scott Doll murder case – but for Ronald J. Wendt, it's his trial of a lifetime.

He is charged with 11 felony counts stemming from a fatal automobile accident on Aug. 12, 2009, including aggravated vehicular manslaughter. The charge alleges more than just drinking-and-driving. The indictment contends that Wendt drove recklessly, causing an accident that took the life of another person.

If convicted of all charges against him, and given the maximum sentence, the 25-year-old Alexander resident would be older, by the time he's released from prison, than 60 percent of the people reading this article are today.

The charge carries a maximum 25-year sentence.

But Katie Stanley had her entire adult life ahead of her. The Dansville resident was just 18 when she was killed on Route 20 in Darien that summer day.

One of the key issues in the trial will be -- was Wendt really responsible for her death?

District Attorney Lawrence Friedman will try to establish: that Wendt was legally impaired by alcohol at the time of the accident; that he was reckless when he made a left-hand turn into oncoming traffic in order to pull into the parking lot of My Saloon; and that his actions are a direct cause of Stanley's death.

Defense Attorney Thomas Burns will try to prove that Wendt was not over the legal limit at the time of the accident. He will argue that a .08 BAC recorded in a test more than an hour after the accident, represents a slight elevation in his BAC from his last drink, but not his BAC at the time of the accident.

Wendt reportedly recorded a .07 in a breath test at the scene. Field breath tests, however, are not admissible as evidence at trial, by either side. 

Wendt, who was helping a friend bale hay that day, has said he drank his last beer about 15 minutes before the accident. That drink may not have made it into his system at the time of the accident, but could have shown up in the later BAC test.

Also at issue are the actions of the other driver Rachel L. Enderle, 27. There were reportedly no skid marks at the scene, and prior to trial, it's not been publicly established how fast the car was going at the time of the accident. 

The spot of the accident is an area in Darien Center that is posted 40 mph along a stretch of Route 20 that is otherwise 55 mph.

Enderle along with Wendt was named in a lawsuit filed in Rochester earlier this year by Timothy L. Enderle, who was also a passenger in Rachel's car.

"Any time there are two cars in an accident, there is a certain percentage of fault with both drivers," said Timothy's attorney, Sheldon W. Boyce.

The key question in this trial is to what degree, if any, is Ronald J. Wendt at fault? And if found at fault to any degree, how much of his life should he be forced to give up?

For previous coverage, click here.

Monday, September 20, 2010 at 9:52 am

Law enforcement kept busy on concert nights at Darien Lake

post by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, darien lake


As a man we only knew as John Doe lay cuffed and prostrate in the back of a patrol car waiting to be arraigned on a trespass charge at Darien Town Court, Chief Deputy Gordon Dibble mused, "some people just shouldn't drink."

The night was still young, but already a handful of individuals had caused a mess of trouble for security and law enforcement at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center during the Aug. 28 Tom Petty concert.

Outside of two young guys busted for allegedly trying to sell hallucinogenic mushrooms, all of the night's law enforcement issues dealt with people drinking, and a little marijuana use, too.

"There are many more arrests we could make, but we try to arrest the people who need to be arrested," Dibble said. "We try to eject as many people as we can -- the people who can’t behave themselves. Usually the people who get arrested -- there’s just no other alternative."

petty_concert_02.jpgTake the case of Jonathan Raymond -- a.k.a. John Doe:  When he was taken into custody, according to one deputy, even his friends were saying, "Get him out of here." 

Investigator Roger Stone, who was in uniform, was on patrol and served as my ride-along escort for the first part of the night. We encountered Raymond in the security trailer next to the concert venue where arrestees are first brought for processing. 

At about 5'-10" and 190 lbs, the 21-year-old Raymond had some strength to throw around if he wanted. He offered enough resistance and spit out enough verbal threats that deputies were clearly intent on keeping him under control.

In the trailer, two deputies kept Raymond cuffed in a chair and their arms on his shoulders.

He kept demanding to leave, cussed at anybody who came within sight and let everybody know that given a chance, he could and or would kill them.

As Raymond sat while Sgt. Thomas Sanfratello prepared his paperwork, a female security guard pushed into the trailer a cuffed 19-year-old Sara J. Cooper.

"Whoa, I'm so scared," Cooper yelled. "Just so you know."

Monday, September 20, 2010 at 8:50 am

Police Beat: Batavia resident accused of giving cigarettes to minors

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Alabama, corfu, crime, Darien

Richard J. Kubis, 30, of 25 Vine St., Batavia, is charged with endangering the welfare of a child. Kubis is accused of supplying cigarettes to two youths, ages 12 and 13.

Darlene McComb, 51, of 110 Bank St., Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. McComb was arrested on a warrant for an alleged Aug. 27 incident. McComb is accused of kicking UMMC emergency room staff.

Lawrence D. Williams, 50, of 15 Walnut St., Batavia, is charged with harassment, 2nd. Williams is accused of shoving a woman. Bail was set at $200.

Clinton J. Reese, 46, of 106 Ellsworth Ave., Batavia, is charged with aggravated harassment, 2nd. Reese is accused of threatening to kill another person.

Chelsie R. Dibble, 25, of Corfu, is charged with DWI and aggravated DWI. Dibble was stopped by State Police at 2:26 a.m., Sunday, on Akron Road in Corfu.

Carl F. Jenkins, 18, of Clarence Center, is charged with DWI and driving with a BAC of .08 or greater. Jenkins was stopped by State Police at 1:47 a.m., Saturday, on Route 238 near Route 20 in Darien.

Edmund Rogalski, 51, of Rochester, is charged with DWI, aggravated DWI, and aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle. Rogalski was stopped by State Police at 1:38 a.m., Thursday, on the Tonawanda Indian Reservation.

Sunday, September 19, 2010 at 1:21 pm

High View Farm hosts annual Autumn Gathering

post by Howard B. Owens in DeFelice, High View Farm, Le Roy


Saturday, the DeFelice family hosted their annual Autumn Gathering for friends and family at High View Farm in Le Roy. Besides food and music, there were games, a hay ride and Gasper DeFelice's farm equipment on display as well as the stock cars of Gasper and Christopher DeFelice.



Sunday, September 19, 2010 at 12:10 pm

Pratt helps carry Notre Dame to win over Oakfield-Alabama

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia, Alabama, football, Oakfield, sports


Mike Pratt and the Fighting Irish dominated the Oakfield-Alabama Hornets from Notre Dame's opening drive, when Pratt carried the ball on each snap resulting in a touchdown.

In all, Pratt had 234 yards on 18 carries and scored three times.

Notre Dame won 36-0 in the Saturday afternoon match-up.

It was also a big game for Nick Taylor, who had 16 carries for 118 yards and two touchdowns.

In all, Notre Dame rushed for 433 yards on 50 attempts.

On defense, Taylor also had six tackles.

The Hornets drop to 0-3 and Notre Dame moves to 2-1.

In other Genesee County football action Friday and Saturday:

Alexander (0-3) fell to Barker (1-2), 20-17. Jared Quinn threw two touchdown passes to John Winiecki for Alexander.

Pembroke (3-0) defeated Elba/Byron-Bergen (2-1) 6-3. For Pembroke, Caine Cole had 155 yards on 32 attempts, while Dylan Bordonaro had 85 yards on 13 rushes for Elba/Byron-Bergen.

After two shutout wins to open the season, Holley (2-1) lost to Attica (2-1), 26-23. For Attica, Brad Clark rushed for 247 yards on 32 carries. He scored twice, including the winning touchdown. 

Le Roy (2-1) dominated Perry (1-2), 56-20. Tommy McQuillen rushed for 186 yards on 10 touches and scored four touchdowns. Defensively, Brad Morgan forced a fumble and had nine tackles. Austin Steinbrenner added six tackles to go with two interceptions.

In a Saturday night game at Van Detta Stadium, the Batavia Blue Devils were 0-3 after losing to St. Mary's (2-1), 21-14.

More pictures from OA at ND after the jump:

Saturday, September 18, 2010 at 10:49 pm

Report of smoke in the area of Batavia Downs

post by Howard B. Owens in batavia

A caller reported smelling smoke and seeing ash falling in the Batavia Downs parking lot.

City Fire and Town of Batavia Fire were dispatched.

A Town of Batavia chief reports seeing a haze in front of Kmart.

Another responder reports smelling smoke in the area of Redfield and Richmond.

A security guard from Batavia Downs reported smelling smoke, too.

Firefighters are checking the grandstand area.

Another responder reporting seeing a plum of smoke in the area of BJs.

UPDATE 11:53 p.m.: The source has been located. It's behind BJs. It's apparently some sort of controlled burn. City units put back in service. Only Town of Batavia's Engine 24 is going to the scene. A deputy is requested to the scene.

UPDATE 12:14 a.m.: Fire extinguished. Town of Batavia units back in service.

Premium Drupal Themes