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ROCHESTER MAN PLEADS GUILTY TO RUNNING DOWN OFFICER

A man admitted that he ran down a police officer with his Jeep Cherokee after robbing a bank and then smoking crack during his flight from six police cars.

Christopher Paul Wood, 29, of Rochester, pleaded guilty Friday to first-degree assault for serious injuries he inflicted on Officer Russ Igler on June 4. Wood had been charged with attempted first-degree murder.

Igler, 51, was struck and dragged for 30 feet as he was laying down spikes in an effort to stop Wood, who was being pursued after a bank robbery in suburban Greece.

In Monroe County Court on Friday, Wood said he loaded a pipe with crack cocaine and started smoking as he drove into Rochester while police chased him.

"I just put in a whole bag and was smoking it because I didn't want to get caught with it," Wood said in court.

"The more I smoked, the less I remember."

Wood faces 25 to 30 years in prison when he's sentenced Oct. 15 by Judge Patricia Marks.

Igler suffered fractures to his face, ribs, wrist and pelvis.

Wood also pleaded guilty to two first-degree robbery charges: for holding up an HSBC Bank branch in Greece and for stealing $125 at knifepoint from his girlfriend's uncle in Greece on March 3.

Probe into the drowning of research worker closed

SYRACUSE (AP) -- The U.S. Coast Guard has closed its investigation into the December drowning of a Lockheed Martin worker in Cayuga Lake.

"From our point of view, the case is closed, and we didn't find any actionable things," Lt. Douglas Eggleston, of the U.S. Coast Guard's Marine Safety Office in Buffalo, told the Post-Standard.

The Little Toot II was found to have all Coast Guard-required safety equipment aboard and to be in compliance with regulations.

The Coast Guard and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration investigated after Rocco "Rocky" Morganti drowned Dec. 20 while working on the research vessel.

Morganti, 58, of Syracuse, was untying a line from the boat to the company's research barge when he fell into the lake. He was not wearing a life jacket.

OSHA has proposed that Lockheed Martin pay $7,875 in penalties for hazards the agency found, including not requiring workers to wear life jackets on exterior walkways.

Lockheed Martin has contested the violations, and the case is in litigation, said OSHA Area Director Diane Brayden.

Criminal charges unlikely in fire-training death

UTICA (AP) -- It's unlikely any criminal charges will be filed in the death of a Lairdsville firefighter during a training exercise last week, according to Oneida County Sheriff Daniel G. Middaugh.

"I don't see where there would be anything to indicate there was criminal activity involved here," Middaugh told the Observer-Dispatch.

"It's a training process, and we're investigating what caused the accident."

Bradley Golden, 19, a Lairdsville Fire Department trainee, died Tuesday night on the second floor of a vacant structure in Westmoreland, five miles west of Utica.

Golden died of asphyxia due to smoke inhalation during a "rapid intervention team exercise" in which he and two other firefighters were to be "rescued" by other firefighters.

Two other Lairdsville firefighters trapped on the second floor were injured and remained Saturday in Syracuse's University Hospital.

Adam Croman, 21, was listed in fair condition. Benjamin Morris, 19, was listed in good condition.

Investigators from the Sheriff's Department and the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control have conducted interviews and continued to search for evidence.

"At that point, we're going to determine what we have and go from there," Sheriff's Lt. Joseph Lisi said.

"Right now, it's a training exercise that went awry in a very tragic manner."

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