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POLICE & COURTS

Driver is identified in fatal Hamburg crash

The identity of the driver who was killed in a one-vehicle crash Tuesday on Route 5 near Eighteenmile Creek was released by Hamburg police.

Police said Aaron P. Gibbs, 18, of Irving, lost control of his vehicle traveling east on Route 5 at about 3:40 p.m. Gibbs' car went off the side of the road and struck two trees.

Gibbs was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police were continuing an investigation into the cause of the crash.

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Attempted murder charge lodged in Hamburg attack

A Lackawanna man was arrested on a charge of attempted murder Wednesday after an altercation in Game Time Sports Bar and Grill, formerly Scotty's Pit Stop, on Southwestern Boulevard, in which a patron was struck over the head with a golf club, Town of Hamburg police said.

After an intense manhunt, Joseph Murphy, 23, was found hiding in an apartment attic where he recently had been staying on Union Street in the Village of Hamburg. Held in Erie County Holding Center in lieu of $100,000 bail, he also was charged with first-degree assault and weapons possession. He is scheduled for a pre-trial hearing this morning.

Police Capt. Steve Mikac said Murphy had been arguing with Philip Bly, 33, of West Seneca, before the attack.

Bly is in Erie County Medical Center in critical condition with a severe head injury.

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Body of mutilated goat found in South Buffalo

The body of a mutilated goat was discovered Wednesday afternoon in a remote area off Hopkins Street in South Buffalo, and city officials suspect animal cruelty.

The carcass, which was found by children playing in the area at about 4 p.m., was headless, and its four legs were sawed off, according to Michael J. DeGeorge, special assistant to Buffalo Police Commissioner H. McCarthy Gipson.

"There's a feeling it was probably dumped in that location," DeGeorge said. "Animal control officers believe it was probably there about 24 hours."

Authorities said it is uncertain whether the animal was killed as part of a religious or cult ritual. The slaughter of a lamb or a goat around Passover or Easter is a tradition practiced by some religions.

DeGeorge said police found three dimes on the carcass but were unsure of the significance.

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Fatal accident brings term of 2 1/3 to 7 years

An Amherst man was sentenced to a term of 2 1/3 to 7 years behind bars on a charge of second-degree vehicular manslaughter Wednesday in connection with an accident last summer that took the life of a Buffalo woman.

Erie County Judge Shirley Troutman also sentenced Robert Endler, 31, of Sprucewood Drive, to a one-year term, to be served concurrently, for driving while his ability was impaired by drugs.

Prosecutor Jeffrey Hagen said Endler caused the death of Tina McCarthy, 43, in the crash at Eggert Road and Niagara Falls Boulevard in Amherst at about 3:45 p.m. Aug. 15.

Authorities said Endler's vehicle, traveling at a high rate of speed, rear-ended McCarthy's vehicle, which was stopped on Eggert Road at the boulevard. Two other cars also were hit in the crash, and both of their drivers were injured.

In January, Endler pleaded guilty to the charges, admitting he was under the influence of cocaine and marijuana at the time of the accident.

He had been free on $15,000 bail before his sentencing.

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Former employee accused in AIDS Alliance theft

A former employee of the AIDS Alliance is accused of stealing a lockbox containing $350 worth of NFTA bus tokens and two gas cards from the nonprofit's offices on South Elmwood Avenue sometime between April 3 and Saturday, police said.

The tokens and gas cards were provided by the American Red Cross to be given to people living with AIDS who may need help with transportation costs.

The thief is believed to have entered the building with a key and taken the lockbox.

Police had initially indicated that the theft had taken place in an American Red Cross building and involved a former employee of the Red Cross, but that information was incorrect, Red Cross spokeswoman Judith Rucki said.

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Electrical problem suspected in fire

An apparent electrical problem sparked a blaze inside an Amherst apartment Wednesday morning that caused about $100,000 damage, Amherst Fire Control reported.

The fire broke out at about 8:15 a.m. in a two-story building housing four apartments at the Campus Manor Apartments at 5 Hedge Court. Occupants told fire officials they noticed lights and a television flickering overnight and called maintenance staff to check on a faulty light in a common hallway between the top two apartments.

Staff called 911 when they noticed an odor of something burning in the complex and found charring on the ceiling inside. Snyder firefighters arrived to find a fire burning in the attic of the building.

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