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Oakfield man, 84, killed while cutting down tree

BATAVIA -- An elderly man died after he apparently was hit in the head by a tree he was cutting down, Genesee County sheriff's deputies said Thursday.

The death of LaVerne M. Bridge, 84, of Fisher Road, Oakfield, was reported Thursday morning by a friend who had stopped by to check on him. He was last seen alive at about 3 p.m. Wednesday, authorities said.

It appears that Bridge had been working in a wooded area behind his home when the tree snapped and hit him, authorities said.

An investigation continues by the sheriff's and coroner's offices.


3 Falls, Ont., residents charged with growing pot

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. -- Three city residents have been charged with operating an indoor marijuana growing operation on Nichols Lane, Niagara Regional Police Service said Thursday.

Richard Fyfe, 41, his wife, Jean, 34, and Patrick Kelly, 47, were briefly held after a raid at 9961 Nicholas Lane, which led to the seizure of four firearms and the discovery of a basement room containing marijuana plant-drying material, police said.

Officers reported confiscating 398 plants, with an estimated street value of $398,000, and about $10,000 worth of plant-growing equipment from a house and a barn on the property. The three suspects face further court proceedings.


Two men facing charges in drive-by shooting

Two men were charged with attempted assault and other counts after a drive-by shooting incident on Wick Street late Tuesday in which nobody was struck by gunfire, Buffalo police said.

The attempted shooting came in the midst of five days of violence in which a dozen people were shot in Buffalo, two of them fatally.

Nathanial Myers, 20, of Wyoming Street, and Ka'Ron McDuffie, 21, of Armbruster Street, were arrested Wednesday afternoon on East Ferry Street by Officers Robert Gonez and Mark White and charged with being responsible for the gunfire in the first block of Wick Street at about 8 p.m. Tuesday.

Myers, identified by witnesses as the man who fired four to five shots from a sport utility vehicle, and McDuffie, a passenger in the SUV, were each charged with first-degree attempted assault, first-degree reckless endangerment and endangering the welfare of a child. The latter charge was because a 15-year-old girl was almost hit with gunshots, police said.

McDuffie also was charged with criminal possession of the handgun Myers is accused of firing, police said.


Inmate accused of assault during jail church service

MAYVILLE -- An inmate at the Chautauqua County Jail was arrested Thursday afternoon and charged with assaulting another inmate as both were attending a 1 p.m. Spanish church service in the jail.

Jayson Rodriguez-Inzarry, 26, of Ashford, Conn., already being held on drug charges, was charged with second-degree assault, sheriff's officials said.

Rodriguez-Inzarry is accused of repeatedly punching fellow inmate and drug suspect Alejandro Novarrro-Gonzalez, 30, of Buffalo, in the nose and face, officials said.


Driver hurt after flipping vehicle trying to avoid deer

TOWN OF LOCKPORT -- A 53-year-old man was injured when he flipped his vehicle trying to avoid four deer just after 4 a.m. Thursday on Saunders Settlement Road.

Eugene L. Laubacker, for whom no address was listed, was eastbound, just east of Wasik's Curve, when he attempted to avoid the four deer in the road. His vehicle left the road, struck a culvert pipe, sideswiped some trees and then rolled over onto its roof, Niagara County sheriff's deputies reported.

Laubacker was flown by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center with head and facial injuries. He was listed in stable condition late Thursday, deputies said.

On April 14, a head-on crash at the same location claimed the life of Richard Dunn, 32, of Lockport.

Dunn's pickup crossed the road and collided head-on with a sedan carrying four passengers shortly after 9 p.m. Drivers are cautioned to slow to 35 mph at the bend in the road known as Wasik's Curve, between Comstock Road and Campbell Boulevard.


Medina woman accused of selling painkillers

MEDINA -- An East Avenue woman was charged with possession and sale of prescription narcotics Wednesday following a two-month investigation by the Orleans County Major Felony Crime Task Force.

Debra L. Mercado, 52, was charged with third-degree criminal sale and third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance after a warrant was served at her home in the 500 block of East Avenue by the task force and Medina police.

Police seized 71 morphine pills and 67 pills of the opiate Nucynta, with a street value of $1,500.

Mercado was arraigned in Town of Ridgeway Court before Justice Dawn Kepler, who sent her to Orleans County Jail on $10,000 bail.

She is due back in court on Monday.