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Friday, September 12, 2014 at 2:52 pm

Lawsuit blames security miscue at Kid Rock concert for Jason McNeil's catastrophic injuries

If Craig Lawson had been properly escorted from the concert venue the night Kid Rock played Darien Lake a year ago July, alleges a Buffalo attorney, he never would have been able to deliver a devastating, life-altering sucker punch to Jason McNeil.

The punch took away the life Jason and his wife Pamela and their two children once knew in Tuscaloosa, Ala.

McNeil, 44, needs constant care after suffering serious head trauma as a result of the punch.

And he wasn't even Lawson's intended victim.

A federal lawsuit filed on behalf of the McNeils will attempt to determine to what degree concert promoter Live Nation and concert host Darien Lake Theme Park is responsible for that punch.

The McNeils are seeking $150 million in damages.

The suit alleges other factors that contributed to McNeil's injuries, said attorney Donald Chiari, but at the heart of it is how Live Nation security handled Lawson after the decision had been made to eject him from the venue for being drunk and disorderly.

Lawson was taken to the concert venue gate (possibly the one known as South PAC), but the guard never completed the task of actually getting Lawson out the gate, Chiari said. If he had, there were security guards in place to keep him out of the venue.

There also would have been a fence between Lawson and the VIP gate, where McNeil was exiting the concert with Pamela.

While a Live Nation guard was taking Lawson to the gate, a person he had been in a confrontation with Lawson inside the venue was supposed to be leaving through the VIP gate.

That person wasn't McNeil.

With Lawson allegedly left unattended for a couple of minutes inside the concert venue, the 34-year-old Canadian ran over to the VIP gate, and in a case of mistaken identity, cold-cocked McNeil.

The punch delivered to a person he had no prior contact with is a fact Lawson admitted during his sentencing Aug. 18. He's currently serving a year in the Genesee County Jail on the assault charge.

McNeil was knocked out before his head hit the ground. He was in a coma by the time he arrived via Mercy Flight to ECMC and has required several surgeries and extended hospitalization since. He has suffered loss of speech; ability to read and write; and comprehend what people are saying; and the ability to walk.

The same security guard who allegedly failed to get Lawson out of the gate was one of the first on scene after the punch was thrown, Chiari said.

"The guard got there and said, 'Oh, my God, I was just throwing you out two-and-half minutes ago,' Chiari said, "that's literally in his statement."

It's not unusual -- as anybody knows who regularly reads arrest reports from concerts at Darien Lake -- for patrons to be ejected from the venue and then later try to return. There are frequent trespassing arrests at Darien Lake concerts. 

Chiari said the unique issue in this case is the alleged failure to follow through on getting a disorderly patron out of the concert venue so other patrons are properly protected.

"No premise's owner or any security is an absolute insurer of safety of third parties, but they still have to do what is reasonable," Chiari said.

The suit names as defendants Live Nation in its at least 10 various incorporations, Darien Lake (by three different corporate names), Craig Lawson, and the company, Contemporary Services Corporation, Live Nation contracts with for security personnel and training.

Not named in the suit is Kid Rock or the Genesee County Sheriff's Office.

Chiari said there is no plan to include the county in the suit.  

Live Nation pays for Sheriff's deputies to provide law enforcement on concert nights, but deputies do not enter the concert venue and from Chiari's description of events, it appears everything leading up to the punch happened within the venue.

The Washington Post recently published a story about the growing rowdiness and disorderly behavior at country music concerts nationally. It's not just a Darien Lake thing. Many contemporary music acts seem to encourage excessive drinking and concerts are often preceded by tailgate parties were copious amounts of booze are consumed.

The suit also names as co-defendants SMG Food and Beverage, and Aramark Sports and Entertainment Services, stating those companies were the vendors of alcoholic beverages the night of the concert. The suit alleges the vendors unlawfully sold alcohol to an already intoxicated Craig Lawson.

This afternoon, The Batavian requested comment from both Live Nation and Darien Lake and have not as of yet received a response.

UPDATE: This from a spokesperson with Live Nation: "We cannot comment on pending litigation."

UPDATE: We received this from Darien Lake: "Darien Lake confirms that on August 29, a civil lawsuit was filed by the family of Jason McNeil. As a matter of policy, we cannot comment on pending litigation." - Rod Rankin, General Manager, Darien Lake

Monday, September 8, 2014 at 9:54 am

Six arrests at Tom Petty concert

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff's Department during the Tom Petty Concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Sunday.

Jennifer L. Bishop, 26, of Harmony Avenue, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly getting evicted from the concert venue and advised not to return, then reentering the concert venue. Bishop jailed on $100 bail.

Julie A. Biamonte, 37, of Harmony Avenue, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly getting evicted from the concert venue and advised not to return, then reentering the concert venue. Biamonte was jailed on $100 bail.

Charles T. Diorio, 30, of Brookwood Drive, Derby, is charged with trespass after allegedly getting evicted from the concert venue, advised not to return, then was said to be climbing the fence to get back into the venue. Diorio was jailed on $500 bail.

A 16-year-old, of Country Road 12, Andover, is charged with possession of a loaded rifle in a vehicle and unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly possessing a loaded .22 rifle in his vehicle and possessing a quantity of marijuana.

Louis E. Sorendo, 57, of East Albany Street, Oswego, is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected from the concert and advised not to return.

Daniel A. Howe, 50, of Astor Drive, Rochester, is charged with criminal possession of a controlled substance, 7th, after allegedly possessing a quantity of cocaine.

Friday, September 5, 2014 at 8:20 am

Photos: Rascal Flatts at Darien Lake

Photographer Amanda Earl attended the Rascal Flatts concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Thursday.  She said the band played great and the fans really enjoyed the show.

Alexis Theriault, age 2, enjoyed the show as well.

Hanna Wells, center, with her aunt, Mary Beth Uetz, and grandmother, Carol Sawyer. They drove from Oswego to see the show in the VIP section. Amanda said, "Hanna sang and danced along to every single song with true enthusiasm this evening. She even caught a guitar pick tossed out into the crowd by Joe Don Rooney." Hanna became a fan of the band when she first heard the number-one hit song, "Bless The Broken Road."

Friday, September 5, 2014 at 8:02 am

Four arrests reported at Rascal Flatts concert

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department during the Rascal Flatts Concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Sept. 4:

Ashley R. Peak, 21, of Livermore Road, Dryden, is charged with for resisting arrest, harassment, 2nd (two counts), and disorderly conduct after allegedly causing a disturbance while being ejected from the concert venue. Peak allegedly then kicked and spit on a deputy and resisted arrest.  Ashley was arraigned in Darien Court and jailed on $1,000 bail.

A 17-yearo-old of Iroquoius Avenue, Lancaster, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly possessing marijuana.

Jon R. Perry, 31 of Fletcher Street, Tonawanda, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly grabbing another patron by the shirt and not letting go. 

Ashley N. Hayden, 22 of Upper Clark Avenue, Van Etten, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly punching and kicking a CSC security guard in the groin.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014 at 1:52 pm

Four arrests reported at Motley Crue concert

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department during the Motley Crue Concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Sunday:

Adam Ellman, 29, of South 14th Street, Olean, is charged with criminal mischief, 4th, after allegedly breaking a chair inside the venue. Ellman was arraigned in Darien Court and remanded to jail in lieu of $1,000 bail.

Luanne M. Marra, 46, of Robinson Street, Silver Creek, is charged with for harassment, 2nd, after allegedly striking a PAC security officer in the face while being escorted from the venue.

Richard F. Derouche, 35, of Gorski Street, Buffalo, is charged with for trespass after allegedly climbing a rigging tower within the venue.

Trent R. Stinson, 19, of Trevett Road, Springville, is charged with for unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly possessing marijuana.

Saturday, August 30, 2014 at 9:44 am

Four arrests reported at Miranda Lambert concert

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Department during the Miranda Lambert Concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Friday.

Derik F. Sharkey, 19, of Center Street, Horseheads, is charged with false personation and possession of a fictitious NYS driver's license after allegedly providing a fake NYS license and providing a false date of birth.

A 17-year-old of Drum Road, Middleport, is charged with false personation after allegedly providing a false date of birth.

Paul M. Wojcik, 22, of Canterberry Trail, West Seneca, is charged with trespass after allegedly refusing to leave the concert venue.

Michael P. Hoenow, 42, of Manitou Street, Depew, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly entering the concert venue through the back gate without a ticket.

Sunday, August 24, 2014 at 1:16 pm

Sheriff's Office reports 19 arrests at Zac Brown concert

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office during the Zac Brown Band concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Saturday:

Andrew R. Witzel, 18, of Rochester Road, Lakeville, is charged with criminal trespass and trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return both times. Witzel was arraigned in Darien Town Court and remanded to jail in lieu of $1,500 bail. 

Bart M. Bartlett, 29, of East 2nd Street, Jamestown, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly entering the VIP area of the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.  Bartlett was arraigned in Darien Court and remanded to jail in lieu of $250 bail.

Alexandra H. Mitchell, 20, of Lamont Avenue, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada, is charged with trespass, harassment, 2nd, and resisting arrest after allegedly entering the Employee Road Exit after being told several times not to enter the area. Mitchell also allegedly pushed a deputy and then resisted arrest.

Nicholas A. Cummings, 18, of Lori Lane, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Joseph P. Fedele, 20, of Harvest Drive, Rochester, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Taylor J. Greean, 19, of Holley Byron Road, Holley, is charged with criminal possession of a weapon, 4th, after allegedly being found in possession of brass knuckles.

Jacob S. Vail, 24, of Nicole Lane, Angola, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly jumping a fence into the concert venue.

Joshua A. Kuminski, 25, of Briarcliff Road, Cheektowaga, is charged with harassment, 2nd, and disorderly conduct after allegedly punching a PAC security officer in the face after being asked to leave the venue and then fighting with PAC security while being ejected.

Daniel M. Regan, 22, of Greenwood Place, Buffalo, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly slapping a PAC security officer in the face.

William Dormann Jr., 32, of Bennett Road, Cheektowaga, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly punching and twisting the hand of a Darien Lake security officer.

Gary R. McTarnaghan, 27, of Route 408, Nunda, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly participating in a large fight in the lawn area of the concert venue.

Joseph S. Tonque, 30, of Main Street, Corning, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly fighting with PAC security.

John P. Mahoney, 44, of Seib Road, Girard, Pa., is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue without a ticket.

Braydon B. Wolfe, 25, of Victor Lane, Hamlin, is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Brian D. Adams, 24, of Robbins Nest Court, Lancaster, is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Bradley T. Willis, 24, of Allens Hill Road, Honeoye, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Christopher P. Colby II, 35, of Linwood Avenue, Tonawanda, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Margaret M. Hout, 54, of Griffon Avenue, Niagara Falls, is charged with three counts of harassment, 2nd, after allegedly punching a patron in the face, striking two other patrons in the face and pulling one's hair. 

Brittany E. Hout, 24, of Griffon Avenue, Niagara Falls, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly pulling another patron's hair and pulling her to the ground.

Saturday, August 23, 2014 at 10:11 am

Four arrested at Goo Goo Dolls concert

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff's Office during the Goo Goo Dolls concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Friday.

Brianna R. Pagliacci, 18, of Byron Avenue, Tonawanda, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly possessing marijuana.

Robert M. Seiler, 19, of West Gate Road, Kenmore, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly possessing marijuana.

Trent R. Stinson, 19, of Trevett Road, Springville, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly possessing marijuana.

Gary T. Davies, 22, of Bunting Road, Orchard Park, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly entering the food distribution building designated for employees only after being ejected from the concert venue. Davies was jailed on $500 bail.

Two people were issued citations for allegedly possessing a fictitious driver's license:

Christopher J. Schiappa, 19, of Hearthstone Drive, East Amherst;
Jay M. Forman, 19, of James Street, Fairport.

Sunday, August 17, 2014 at 10:51 am

Deputies arrest 20 people at Luke Bryan conert

The following people were arrested by the Genesee County Sheriff’s Office during the Luke Bryan concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Saturday:

David P. Mayne, 28, of James Street, Medina, for is charged with disorderly conduct, harassment, 2nd, and resisting arrest after allegedly being involved in a physical altercation inside the concert venue after grabbing a acquaintance by the throat and punching her in the face. Mayne then allegedly resisted arrest. Mayne was arraigned in Darien Court and remanded to jail in lieu of $500 bail.

Michael R. J. Fiumano, 20, of Glenn Avenue, Pulaski, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after he allegedly punched and pushed a Live Nation Security Officer.

Kassidy R. Watson, 19, of Lake Avenue, Hilton, is charged with tampering with physical evidence and unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana and then attempted to conceal the evidence in her shirt.

Ariana M. Watson, 20, of Lighthouse Road, Hilton, is charged with unlawful possession of marijuana after allegedly being found in possession of marijuana.

Mark A. Buldyke, 22, of Amber Court, Port Perry, Ontario, Canada, is charged with trespass after allegedly jumping a fence into the venue.

Kirstia M. Dlugosz, 19, of South Prince Drive, Depew, is charged with trespass after allegedly reenentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Stephen J. Hayes, 24, of Saya Road, Weedsport, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly jumping a fence onto the Darien Lake property.

Corey J. Hinman, 25, of Ryan Road, Weedsport, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly jumping a fence onto Darien Lake property.

Jacob R. Andol, 19, of East Blood Road, Cowlesville, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly causing a disturbance in the medical tent inside the venue.

Lucas R. Logsdon, 19, of Dunkley Road, Leicester, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly fighting inside the concert venue.

Trey G. Henderson, 22, of Terry Hills Drive, Batavia, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly fighting with concert security while being ejected from the venue.

Samuel A. Musolino II, 23, of Hyde Park, Niagara Falls, is charged with criminal trespass, 3rd, after allegedly jumping a fence into the concert venue.

(Name Redacted), 23, of Hillpine Road, Cheektowaga, is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told on to return. (The person arrested was apparently using the ID of another individual, so the name has been redacted).

Jordan M. Coulson, 23, of McMurchy Avenue, South Brampton, Ontario, Canada, is charged with trespass after allegedly jumping a fence on Employee Road into the back area.

Danielle B. Russell, 19, of Floren Tine Way, Chili, is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Matthew H. Coe, 22, of Route 62, Frewsburg, is charged with trespass after allegedly jumping a fence into the concert venue.

Ryan M. Hanes, 25, of Cleveland Drive, Cheektowaga, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly fighting with Live Nation Security.

David D. Carpes, 27, of Nelson Road, Clyde, is charged with harassment, 2nd, after allegedly pushing a Live Nation Security Officer.

Bryan T. Mogle, 23, of Englewood Avenue, Buffalo, is charged with trespass after allegedly reentering the concert venue after being ejected and told not to return.

Gabrielle L. Frey, 20, of Boyce Road, Corfu, is charged with disorderly conduct after allegedly causing a disturbance on Sumner Road.

The following people were issued tickets for alleged possession of a fictious license:

Madeline L. Bissell, 19, of East Aurora
Michael A. Marcucci, 19, of Spencerport
Jon M. Tokar, 19, of Big Flats
Emily E. Shapiro, 19 of Buffalo
Anthony Martusciello, 20, of Spencerport

The following people were issued tickets for alleged possession of another person's license:

Eileen L. Argona, 19 of Niagara Falls
Franjo B. Tabar, 20, of Buffalo
William A. Sanchez, 29, of Spring Valley
Jordan Brandwood, 21, of Beemsville, Ontario, Canada

Thursday, August 14, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Photos: Kiss rocks Darien Lake

The rock band KISS played Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Wednesday, and photographer Amanda Earl was there to get some pictures for us.

The Sheriff's Office reported no arrests during the concert.

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