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Principal charged in hit-run crash

Vincent T. Vanderlip, the second-year principal at Springville-Griffith Institute High School, is facing charges in connection with a hit-and-run crash involving a pedestrian last weekend in Hamburg.

The 39-year-old school administrator reportedly was charged with leaving the scene of an injury accident and driving while intoxicated following an accident at 7 p.m. Sept. 12 in the Town of Hamburg where he allegedly struck a victim with the side-view mirror on his car and fled.

He will remain as principal of the school pending an investigation, school officials said.

On Thursday, Vanderlip and Superintendent Vicki A. Wright met with high school staff to address the matter.

Vanderlip admitted to being "involved in a traffic incident" last weekend.

"At this point, I am going through the legal process," Vanderlip said, adding that, while he can't discuss particulars of the case now, he will when the time is right. "I assure you that my focus is our work to educate and improve the lives of our students."

Superintendent Vicki A. Wright said the district has an obligation to investigate the case itself but, in the meantime, Vanderlip will "continue to have all the authorities granted to the position of a high school principal."

Wright added, "In this great country of ours, there is a presumption of innocence in legal matters. As an individual and as a representative of this district, I take that presumption very seriously.

"I have every confidence that Vince Vanderlip has the ability to lead this high school and perform his job effectively and in the best interest of students and staff."

Vanderlip was in the news four years ago as a victim. In February 2005, while he was an assistant principal at Niagara Wheatfield High School, Vanderlip was slapped in the face and punched twice in the head by a student who allegedly poured perfume into the soft drink of fellow assistant principal, James R. Campbell.

Campbell became violently ill. When Vanderlip intervened and tried seizing the female student's purse and backpack, he was attacked.

e-mail: tpignataro@buffnews.com

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