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POLICE & COURTS

>Broken wheel leads to jail, hospital, jail again

JAMESTOWN -- Eduardo Rodriguez's troubles started at about 2 p.m. Wednesday when he was driving a friend's car along Barrett Avenue. Police noticed it had a broken wheel and pulled him over.

After he allegedly gave officers a fake name, they investigated and found out that his license was suspended. He was arrested on a charge of aggravated unlicensed operation and locked up in City Jail.

When Rodriguez, 41, of East Second Street, complained of stomach pains, he was taken to WCA Hospital, where he was treated for drug withdrawal symptoms, police said. He bolted, but officers guarding him caught him outside the hospital and charged him with third-degree escape. He is now held in Chautauqua County Jail in lieu of $2,500 bail.

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>Girlfriend's pregnancy keeps man out of jail

LOCKPORT -- Niagara County Judge Peter L. Broderick Sr. said Thursday he wanted to send to Matthew I. McNiff to jail for drug possession but hesitated to do so after defense attorney Robert Viola told him McNiff's pregnant girlfriend would be left homeless because she wouldn't be able to make the mortgage payments on their home.

Instead, Broderick placed McNiff, 22, of Expressway Village, Town of Niagara, on interim probation for 50 days, warning him that if he messed up in any way, he'd go to state prison.

A Probation Department report had suggested a six-month jail sentence to start a five-year probation term for McNiff, who admitted to attempted fifth-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance after being caught with 35 hydrocodone pills March 23 on Porter Road in the Town of Niagara.

"You want to be something other than a pothead the rest of your life, you better do something right now," Broderick snapped at McNiff.

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>Man indicted in attempt to kill wife, police officer

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara County grand jury Thursday indicted a North Tonawanda man on charges of trying to kill his wife and a police officer.

Thomas B. Simcoe, 42, of Courtside Drive, is charged with attempted first-degree murder, attempted second-degree murder, three counts each of second-degree assault and attempted first-degree assault, two counts of fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. If convicted of the most serious count, he faces up to life in prison.

Simcoe allegedly tried to stab North Tonawanda Officer Jeffrey Smith in the chest three times Sept. 29 after Smith answered a domestic violence call and broke down the door of Simcoe's home. Two knife thrusts were blocked by Smith's cell phone and a third by his notebook.

Smith suffered knee and ankle injuries in his struggle with Simcoe, police reported.

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