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STUDENT FROM WNY KILLED IN CRASH; ANOTHER BADLY HURT

One Western New York resident died Wednesday and another remained hospitalized in critical condition after a van carrying Clarkson University students crashed in the Franklin County community of Bombay earlier this week.

Matthew D. Schmigel, 20, of Corfu, who suffered head injuries, died Wednesday in Fletcher Allen Medical Center, Burlington, Vt., a hospital spokeswoman said. A student from Clifton Park, Saratoga County, died on the night of the crash.

Melissa A. Hand, 18, of Lockport, who suffered spinal fractures, was listed in critical condition in the trauma center.

The accident occurred shortly before 9 p.m. Tuesday as the students returned from a high school robotics workshop. State troopers said the driver, Albert J. Betzwieser, 20, of Rexford, Saratoga County, was ticketed for failing to slow down while taking a curve.

The school van swerved off the road, overturned and hit a utility pole, severing it in two, an investigator said.

Two other students were taken to the trauma center, and eight others, including Betzwieser, suffered less serious injuries and were treated at area hospitals.

The Clarkson students were part of a team that travels to area high schools to help students design and build robots for national competitions.

Man accused of imprisoning
his girlfriend in her home

A Mulberry Street man was charged with unlawful imprisonment after he refused to let his girlfriend leave her home early today, authorities said.

Shontai A. Whatley said that the incident with Donald E. Kelly in her Seventh Street home started at about 1 a.m., but that she was soon able to escape and call 911 from a neighbor's home, Central District police said.

Officer Anthony Lapiana found five bags of crack cocaine in Kelly's pants pocket and also charged him with criminal possession of a controlled substance.

Man accused of trying to tap
phone in credit card crime

Amherst police apparently have solved a bizarre crime after chasing and catching a Buffalo man accused of trying to tap into an Amherst couple's phone line to continue using their stolen credit card number.

Tuesday afternoon, the Darwin Drive couple noticed that their phone wasn't working. The woman looked outside and saw a man crouching near their deck. When he spotted her, he fled, and her husband chased him.

Amherst Lt. Rick Walter and Officer John Trabert responded to the scene and caught the man, while other officers arrested a Buffalo woman nearby in a vehicle that the couple had seen cruising by their house.

Detectives later pieced together the scheme. The woman who was arrested apparently had learned of the couple's credit card number while at her place of employment. However, after some questionable purchases, the credit card company had put a hold on further use of the card.

So, police believe, the man who was arrested was allegedly trying to tap into the couple's phone line to impersonate the homeowner and confirm that he had made the purchases in question.

Officers charged Brandon J. Richburg, 19, of Freeman Street, Buffalo, with criminal possession of stolen property, criminal trespassing and criminal tampering. Ebony Workman, 20, of Davidson Avenue, Buffalo, faces a charge of criminal facilitation, police said.

Man faces life sentence
on cocaine possession plea

A man pleaded guilty Wednesday to cocaine trafficking charges stemming from his arrest on William Street as he was driving into town with six kilograms of cocaine with a street value of about $200,000.

Elicer Martinez, 32, pleaded guilty before State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia to cocaine possession charges that carry a mandatory life term.

Jailed since his arrest on William near Metcalfe Street on July 10, Martinez, a native of the Bronx, was told by the judge he will get a minimum term of at least six years before becoming eligible for parole and will remain on supervised parole for the rest of his life if ever released from prison.

Buscaglia remanded Martinez, pending his Dec. 14 sentencing.

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