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POLICE & COURTS

Driver behind wheel in ditch is arrested

A man sitting behind the wheel of a car in a ditch on Route 438 on the Seneca Nation of Indians territory early Thursday was charged with felony driving while intoxicated, Erie County sheriff's officials said.

Deputy Brad Ballantyne, assisted by a Gowanda police officer, charged Ronald W. Jamieson, 36, of Route 438, Gowanda, with felony DWI, due to a previous drunken-driving conviction in 2006, and aggravated unlicensed operation, for driving with a revoked license, deputies said.

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Three arrested in 'rental' of stolen rental car

Three men were arrested Wednesday afternoon after one of them said he "rented" a stolen rental car from another man on Goodyear Avenue and then was caught with the car by police, Niagara Frontier Transportation Authority police reported.

Robert D. Robinson, 17, of Burgard Street; Tommy J. Works, 20, of Goodyear Avenue; and Billy G. Sweat Jr., 18, of Overland Street, were charged with two counts of criminal possession of stolen property and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.

The three were in the car when they were stopped by NFTA Officers Charles Loubert and Vinni Mancino at East Utica Street and Michigan Avenue about 4:10 p.m. after police noticed the car was listed as stolen July 3 from Enterprise Rental Car on Main Street.

Works told police he didn't steal the car but rather "rented" the stolen rental car from "a dude" on Goodyear Avenue for $15, according to reports.

Police also charged Sweat with criminal possession of marijuana.

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8-year jail term imposed in arson fire by evictee

A Lackawanna woman will spend eight years behind bars for starting a fire in the apartment where she was being evicted.

Senior Erie County Judge Michael L. D'Amico on Thursday sentenced Kathleen E. Brown, 58, to eight years in jail after a jury in March found her guilty of starting the fire in her second-floor flat in the 3200 block of South Park Avenue, near the Buffalo city line, according to the Erie County district attorney's office.

Brown also was given seven years for an assault conviction related to the case, but the two sentences will run concurrently, said Assistant District Attorneys Mary Beth DePasquale and Lauren A. Rott, who prosecuted the case.

The arson on May 1, 2006, began hours after the apartment owner started eviction proceedings in Lackawanna City Court because of Brown's failure to pay rent. Brown was accused of disconnecting the natural gas line from her small apartment, while the windows were closed, sparking a fire and explosion.

The assault charge stems from when Officer Aaron Brennan, responding to the call, ran into the apartment twice to look for occupants, and suffered severe lung and eye damage from the thick smoke.

Brown has been in custody since her arrest last May.

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