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NEWS IN BRIEF

Car-van collision injures five

ROYALTON -- Five people were injured Saturday in a car-van collision at Slayton Settlement and Orangeport roads, a Niagara County sheriff's deputy said.

The van driver, Veronica J. Walter, 37, of Quaker Road, Gasport, was treated for chest injuries in Medina Memorial Hospital, Deputy Maurice Britt said.

Kerry Greene, 20, of Danby, Vt., driver of the car, and her passengers, Nick Wright, 20, Alexis Golden, 19, and Stephanie Boyd, 19, were treated for minor injuries in Lockport Memorial Hospital and released, a hospital official said.

The accident occurred at 11:42 a.m. when Greene, southbound on Orangeport Road, ran a stop sign and collided with the van, according to police. Greene was charged with a stop sign violation, Britt said.

Driver hurt in one-car crash

TOWN OF LOCKPORT -- A Ransomville man suffered head injuries in a one-car crash Friday.

Robert G. Wittman, 36, of Dorwood Park, lost control of his car while rounding a curve on Kinne Road, traveled 600 feet through a ditch and crashed into a culvert, Niagara County Sheriff's Deputy James R. Voutour said. The accident occurred at 7:08 p.m.

Wittman was flown by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center, where he was released after treatment, a hospital official said.

Public-defense system overhaul urged

GENESEO -- The InterCounty Association of Western New York, a coalition of 18 counties from Niagara Falls to the Southern Tier, passed a resolution Friday calling for an overhaul of the way the state's public defense system is funded, and the creation of an independent public defense commission to provide statewide oversight.

The Genesee County Legislature and Wyoming County Board of Supervisors have passed similar resolutions.

"The governor and the legislature have to recognize that New York's public defense system is in shambles," Gary Horton, Genesee County public defender, said in a statement. "They have neglected the program that was created in 1965. As a result, we have an outdated system on the verge of collapse."

Horton said raising the fees that lawyers can collect for indigent legal services is a step in the right direction, but doesn't adequately address the fundamental problems faced by New York's 62 counties.

Riley Street shootings injure two

Two men were wounded after gunfire broke out on Riley Street early Saturday morning.

Nate Harris, 40, of Riley Street, was shot in the right leg, and Terry Kennedy, age unavailable, of 14th Street, was shot in the left arm, when a gunman opened fire on the two, Buffalo police said. Both were taken to Erie County Medical Center, where they were listed in fair condition Saturday morning.

Buffalo police are investigating the shooting, which occurred at about 3:30 a.m. at 664 Riley Street, where Harris lives in the lower apartment, according to police reports.

Police found 21 casings from a semi-automatic rifle at the crime scene.

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