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Basom man, 44, killed as pickup crashes into pole

A Basom man was killed early Thursday when he lost control of his pickup on snow-covered Carney Road in Newstead, near the border of Erie and Genesee counties, and crashed into a utility pole, state police said.

Bryan J. Oczkowski, 44, was westbound at about 6:30 a.m. when his pickup veered off the road, rolled over and struck a utility pole. Emergency response personnel discovered the pickup upside-down, with live wires touching it.

Oczkowski, who was pronounced dead at the scene, was wearing his seat belt, Trooper Timothy Mahony said. An autopsy is scheduled today.


Hassan trial judge sees windup of jury selection

Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk said he is optimistic that 12 jurors and four alternates will be chosen by the end of today in the Muzzammil S. "Mo" Hassan murder trial.

A total of 10 jurors were chosen by the end of Thursday's court session. If the jury is chosen today, testimony is expected to begin Tuesday.

Court will not be in session Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Day.

Hassan, 46, has been jailed since he went to Orchard Park police headquarters Feb. 12, 2009, and advised officials that he had beheaded his third wife, Aasiya Zubar Hassan, 37, at about 5 p.m. that day in the office of the Orchard Park cable television station they formed five years earlier.

Aasiya Hassan had begun divorce proceedings a week earlier.

Hassan claims he was a battered spouse because of years of alleged verbal and emotional abuse by his wife.


Wife accused of violating court order in assault

SALAMANCA -- A State Park Avenue woman who violated a court order to stay away from her home was arrested after she broke in and assaulted her husband, police said.

Junity G. Staley, 61, was taken into custody Monday by Cattaraugus County sheriff's deputies. Her husband suffered facial injuries, police said.

Staley was charged with third-degree assault, fourth-degree criminal mischief and first-degree criminal contempt for violating the court order of protection.

She was taken to the county jail without bail and is to answer to the charges in Salamanca Town Court at a later date.


Targets of multistate probe arrested in W. Seneca store

Three New York City suspects in the multistate probe of the fraudulent use of credit card numbers to purchase gift cards were arrested late Wednesday in the Wegmans store on Orchard Park Road, West Seneca police said.

Huawei Zheng, 22, Jie Lin, 21, and Chuan Qin Huang, 25, are charged with possession of a forged instrument, grand larceny, criminal possession of a credit card, all felonies, as well as conspiracy and criminal facilitation.

Police recovered more than $10,000 in gift cards and $3,000 in cash.

The three were arraigned and taken to the Erie County Holding Center in lieu of $25,000 cash bail or $100,000 property bond, pending a Jan. 18 court date.

The U.S. Secret Service is assisting in the investigation.


Dunkirk man, 51, accused of purse theft at casino

SALAMANCA -- A Dunkirk man was arrested following a police investigation into the Dec. 21 theft of a purse at the Seneca Allegany Casino.

Cattaraugus County sheriff's deputies charged John W. Papierski, 51, with fourth-degree grand larceny and petit larceny in the theft of the purse, which contained cash, a driver's license and credit card.


Woman flown to ECMC after crash into a tree

PORTLAND -- An elderly Westfield woman was injured in a crash Thursday afternoon on Route 20 in the Town of Portland, Chautauqua County sheriff's officials said.

Deputies responded to the crash, which occurred at about 1:40 p.m., after a vehicle driven by the woman, 86, went off the road and struck a tree.

The victim was taken to Westfield Memorial Hospital and then flown to Erie County Medical Center. Police did not release her name or condition Thursday.

Authorities were continuing their investigation late Thursday.


No injuries in collision of school bus and van

CARROLL -- A van driven by a Pennsylvania man rear-ended a Frewsburg Central School bus at about 7 a.m. Wednesday on Old Warren Road,, Chautauqua County sheriff's officials said.

No one was injured.

The van driver, Charles P. Barirde, 45, of North Warren, Pa., crashed into the bus, driven by William Brown, 67, of Frewsburg, deputies said. The bus had just picked up a student and was about to stop again when the collision occurred, deputies said.

At the time, there were seven students aboard the bus.

Barirde was charged with following too closely.

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