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Former deputy pleads not guilty in fatal crash

CAMBRIA – Former Niagara County Sheriff’s Deputy James H. Bissell III, who resigned after his patrol car collided with another vehicle Oct. 17, killing the other driver, pleaded not guilty to reckless driving and three other counts Tuesday night in Cambria Town Court.

Bissell, who had been working for the Sheriff’s Office for only about a month at the time of the wreck, is to return to court May 3 for a pretrial conference before Justice Amel S. Jowdy Jr.

Glenn T. Annalora, 61, of Ridge Road, Newfane, was killed and his wife, Mary A. Annalora, 58, was injured when Bissell’s patrol car T-boned their Jeep at Ridge and Plank roads in Cambria. Bissell suffered a head injury. Residents who live near the crash scene said they did not hear a police siren before the collision.

The reckless driving charge, a misdemeanor carrying a one-year maximum jail term, was the most serious charge that could be brought against Bissell, who was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol and did not leave the scene. He also was charged with imprudent speed, failure to yield the right of way and passing a stop sign. Mary Annalora has filed a notice of claim in anticipation of a lawsuit against the county.