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POLICE & COURTS - Final

Niagara Street crash kills driver, injures passenger

A 19-year-old Buffalo man is dead and his 21-year-old male passenger is being treated for serious injuries after their car crashed into a utility pole at Niagara Street, near Vulcan Street, early this morning, police said.

The deceased man's identity was being withheld until his family is notified.

His passenger, whose name also was not released, suffered internal injuries. His condition was not released this morning.

Police said the car was discovered at about 1:20 a.m. wrapped around a utility pole in the 2000 block of Niagara.

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Empty nuclear container unharmed in derailment

A railroad car carrying an empty container that transports spent nuclear fuel derailed early this morning in Buffalo, but officials said there was no visible breach of the container and no release of radioactivity.

The car derailed at about 1 a.m. in CSX's Frontier Yard off Broadway. The empty container, designed to transport U.S. Navy spent nuclear fuel, was en route from an Idaho facility to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard in Kittery, Maine.

"There is no hazard to the public from this empty container, and, hence, no protective action by the public is necessary," the Department of Energy's Naval Reactors Office in Pittsburgh stated a news release.

The Department of Energy also stated that these containers, with 14-inch stainless steel walls, can withstand much more serious incidents, such as collisions, fire and immersion in water.

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Man held in break-in try and assault of priest

A Fillmore Avenue man who allegedly assaulted an East Side priest while trying to break into his car was arrested late Tuesday, Buffalo police reported.

David Rollins, 45, allegedly broke into the garage at Corpus Christi Catholic Church on Clark Street shortly after 8 p.m. Tuesday and attempted to steal a CD player from the car of the Rev. Miroslaw Chalupka, according to reports.

When Rollins was confronted by the priest, he struggled with him, and Chalupka suffered a minor injury to his right hand, police said.

Rollins was charged with burglary, assault, petit larceny and harassment.

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Attempt to rob deliveryman draws five-year term

An East End Avenue teen who tried to rob a pizza deliveryman in January only to be tracked through the snow by two Buffalo police officers was sentenced Wednesday to a five-year prison term.

Anthony Sullivan, 17, who was convicted of first-degree robbery, asked Senior Erie County Judge Michael L. D'Amico for leniency. But D'Amico noted that Sullivan committed the crime while on probation after being granted youthful offender status for an earlier robbery.

Prosecutor James Q. Aurrichio said Sullivan will likely be held in a youth facility until he turns 19 and then transferred to an adult prison.

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Driver fires at officer; police look for suspect

Ferry-Fillmore District and homicide detectives late Wednesday were searching for a man accused of firing two shots at a police officer during a chase early Wednesday morning.

The officer, Joy Jermain, was not hurt. Shortly after 2:30 a.m., she spotted a vehicle on Fillmore Avenue with no lights on. She chased the vehicle onto French Street, where the driver fired two shots in her direction, Chief Mark Antonio said.

Jermain took evasive action, slowed down and radioed for help. Officers followed the vehicle to Moselle Street, where the driver ditched the car and fled.

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McDonald's on Genesee St. loses cash to burglar

A burglar broke into the McDonald's restaurant at 1830 Genesee St. this morning and stole $1,500 from the safe and all the cash from the register, police said.

Ferry-Fillmore District police said the thief entered the restaurant sometime between 1 and 5:30 a.m.

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Phony bomb threat leads to teen's arrest

Lackawanna detectives and State Police investigators joined forces to arrest a teenager accused of phoning in a bomb threat that closed the Peace Bridge for three hours July 8, 2003.

Shortly after the late-afternoon incident, investigators determined that the caller used a pay phone on Wilkesbarre Avenue, not far from a Lackawanna mosque. The investigation later determined that it was a prank call.

Investigators say the teen, who was only 14 at the time, confessed to the prank. They say they also have corroborating evidence linking him to the crime.

The youth, who lives in Lackawanna's 2nd Ward, will be petitioned to Family Court on a felony charge of falsely reporting an incident dealing with an explosion.

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Cocaine dealer loses home, gets jail time

A Buffalo man who was a major supplier of crack cocaine in Salamanca forfeited his home to the government and was sentenced to 11 years and eight months in federal prison, authorities said Wednesday.

Michael "Uncle" Haggins, 41, was one of 15 people arrested in "Operation Salamanca," a drug bust in May 2003 by the Southern Tier Regional Task Force and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.

Haggins pleaded guilty to a felony drug conspiracy charge and agreed to forfeit his home on Lafayette Avenue to the government, prosecutors said.

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