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POLICE & COURTS

>Mercy Flight aids rescue in snowmobile mishap

WHEATFIELD -- Mercy Flight is credited with both a search and rescue following a snowmobile accident Thursday night.

Gary Miller, 40, of Pearce Road, suffered head and chest injuries following a snowmobile crash at 8:39 p.m., just off of Nash Road. The victim's wife, who was at the scene, contacted authorities with a cell phone, Niagara County sheriff's deputies said.

Mercy Flight was diverted from landing to help deputies in the search, and was able to locate Miller within a minute. The helicopter landed in a field next to Miller and fire rescue crews joined Mercy Flight to treat him. Miller was flown to Erie County Medical Center, where he was listed in fair condition on Friday.

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>Assistant fire chief is suspended by board

LOCKPORT -- Assistant Fire Chief Mark S. Devine, arrested Jan. 22 after a domestic dispute, has been suspended until further notice by the Fire Board, but is continuing to draw his $61,361 annual salary.

Fire Board President Thomas W. O'Shea and Alderman Patrick W. Schrader, a board member, said Friday that state labor law prohibits them from commenting on the case and explaining why Devine's salary wasn't cut off. The suspension took effect Feb. 4, Fire Chief Thomas J. Passuite said.

Devine, 51, of Corinthia Street, is a 31-year city employee. He has a City Court appearance Wednesday on charges of second-degree coercion, second-degree harassment and endangering the welfare of a child, all misdemeanors. He was accused of arguing with and shoving a woman in front of a 3-year-old child at a Prentice Street home and ripping the phone out of the wall so police couldn't be called.

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>Drug suspect charged as parking lot gunman

NIAGARA FALLS -- An 18-year-old was charged with robbing a man at gunpoint in the parking lot of the Wilson Farms store on 18th Street, city police said.

Felton J. Harris III, of North Avenue, pleaded not guilty in City Court on Thursday to robbery with a deadly weapon, resisting arrest and possession of a narcotic with intent to sell. He was held in Niagara County Jail on $10,000 cash or $20,000 property bail.

Police said a 30-year-old Niagara Avenue man told them he was in the parking lot of the convenience store at 9 p.m. Wednesday when Harris got into his car and held a pistol to his head. He said Harris then took $605 from his pants pockets and fled.

The victim, police said, waved down a police car and police chased the suspect when he was spotted at 18th Street and Willow Avenue. Police said Harris threw a bag of OxyContin pills into a yard during the chase.

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>Evicted men's return brings drug sale counts

LOCKPORT -- Two men were charged with criminal trespassing after returning to an apartment from which they had been evicted and further charged with growing cannabis in two rooms, city police said.

The landlord of a Harvey Avenue apartment told police that no one should be in the apartment, because the tenants had been evicted last Friday and the locks were changed.

Police on Wednesday found Richard J. Hawes, 25, and Patrick A. Thompson, 23, both still listing Harvey Avenue as their address, in the apartment, and said a large amount of marijuana was in plain sight on a chair. A further search found two growing rooms of marijuana and several shotguns, including one sawed-off gun.

Both men told police they were in the apartment because they didn't want to leave.

Hawes and Thompson also were charged with endangering the welfare of a child, police said, because officers found two juvenile girls at the scene.

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>3 injured in collision; unhurt driver charged

NIAGARA FALLS -- One man was charged and three suffered minor injuries because of a two-car crash Friday afternoon on Niagara Falls Boulevard at Tuscarora Road, city police said.

Kerwin Rolfe, 32, of Creek Road, Lewiston, was charged with running a red light and failure to yield at an intersection at 12:12 p.m., police said. Rolfe was not injured, but two of his passengers, a man and woman, both age 25, suffered minor injuries to their arms and legs, Officer James Tarapczynski said.

The driver in the second car, Josephine Rotella, 80, of Niagara Falls, was also injured and sought medical treatment at Mount St. Mary's Hospital in Lewiston, complaining of pain to her left side.

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