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Driver who hit 2 boys gets weekends in jail

LOCKPORT -- Amy J. Schumacher, the drunken driver who ran down two teenage boys while reaching for her cellphone last year, was sentenced Wednesday to four months of weekends in jail and five years' probation.

Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas said that she was concerned about the impact of a prison term on Schumacher's daughters, who are 7 and 4.

"Removing a mother from their life at this time would create a third child victim," Farkas said. "I've decided to craft a sentence that will make no one happy but will address all the issues before this court."

Schumacher, 37, of Ernest Road, Royalton, sobbed her apologies to the family of Anthony Sammarco, the 15-year-old boy who spent five weeks in a coma after being struck by her auto at about 9 p.m. May 26 on Dysinger Road in the Town of Lockport.

"I'm so sorry for Christian and Anthony," Schumacher said in court.

Farkas said she was moved by Schumacher's remorse, but the family of one of the victims was not. The Sammarco family stormed from the courtroom before Farkas could finish reading the terms of probation.

"The judge took only her side," said Billi Jo Sammarco, the mother of Anthony Sammarco.

A probation officer interviewed Schumacher after her Jan. 27 guilty plea to misdemeanor DWI and two counts of vehicular assault and recommended no jail, Farkas said.


Mother accused of shaking, abandoning daughter, 6

A 22-year-old Buffalo woman was charged with child abandonment after she allegedly angrily shook her 6-year-old daughter and left her on the street with health care workers late Tuesday afternoon.

Melanie J. McClinton, whose address was not listed on a police report, was arrested by Buffalo Police Officers Craig Leone and Richard Manley in the 3200 block of Bailey Avenue at about 5 p.m., after a 911 call about a little girl being shaken after being yanked out of a car. Several Horizon Health workers told the officers McClinton roughed up the girl, told the workers, "Keep her," and left. McClinton was arrested when she returned, the officers said.

McClinton was charged with abandonment of a child, endangering the welfare of a child and second-degree harassment.


Man, woman plead guilty to car insurance fraud

LOCKPORT -- A man and woman from the Town of Tonawanda, accused of torching their own car last year and then filing an insurance claim, pleaded guilty to fraud charges Wednesday in Niagara County Court.

Wray J. Bucklaew, 24, and his live-in girlfriend, Nicole J. Cason, 25, of Longfellow Court, were living in North Tonawanda when their burned-out 1999 Mercury Grand Marquis was found in Buffalo on Nov. 14.

Assistant District Attorney Heather A. DeCastro said they filed a claim with Geico Insurance for $3,057, asserting the car had been stolen.

Bucklaew pleaded guilty to felony attempted third-degree insurance fraud, while Cason admitted to misdemeanor attempted fourth-degree insurance fraud. Both will be sentenced July 19 by Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas.


Theft of credit, debit cards brings arrest of health aide

A Buffalo woman was charged this week for allegedly stealing a Delaware Avenue woman's credit and debit cards and using them to pay for her own cellphone bill while working as a home health care aid for the woman in January.

Jamella Gates, 22, of Hirschbeck Street, was arrested by Buffalo Police Officer John Paradowski and charged with grand larceny and possession of stolen property.

Gates had been caring for a woman living in an apartment in the 1000 block of Delaware, police reported.


Man's bail set at $100,000 in sex attack on woman

LOCKPORT -- Bail was set at $100,000 Wednesday for a man accused of a two-hour sexual attack on a 60-year-old woman Jan. 21 in her Niagara Falls home.

Jeffrey Brantley, 46, of Walnut Avenue in the Falls, pleaded not guilty in Niagara County Court to an indictment charging him with attempted first-degree rape, two counts of first-degree criminal sexual act, and single counts of first-degree sexual abuse, second-degree burglary and petit larceny.

Assistant District Attorney Robert A. Zucco said the victim held a statue of the Virgin Mary as she tried to convince the suspect not to attack her. The statue was broken in the struggle, Zucco said, adding that he will seek a DNA sample from Brantley for confirmatory testing. Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas will hear arguments May 23.


$3,600 in property stolen in theft at Niagara Catholic

NIAGARA FALLS -- More than $3,600 worth of school property was stolen from the shed behind the Niagara Catholic High School field house, Niagara Falls police reported Tuesday.

Someone gained entry by unknown means and took a canvas tent, a field liner, a utility pump, and red dugout covers with the Niagara Catholic school logo on them, which alone were valued at a total of $2,500, according to school officials.

No sign of forced entry was found. Loss was estimated at $3,645.