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Falls woman hurt in crash wins $86,000 jury award

NIAGARA FALLS -- A 25-year-old Niagara Falls woman who suffered a back injury in a 2003 auto accident was awarded $86,000 by a jury last week, her attorney said Monday.

The jury in State Supreme Court found that plaintiff Jennifer Jordan, an assistant manager at a cell phone store, did not have a permanent injury, but she will have "significant limitation" in her activities because of the two bulging disks that resulted when the car in which she was a front-seat passenger rear-ended a truck Nov. 21, 2003.

Attorney J. Patrick Lennon of the firm of Rosenthal, Siegel & Muenkel said Jordan, who was 18 at the time of the collision, sued the woman, then 17, who was driving the car in which she was riding. The payout will come from State Farm, the woman's insurance company.

The accident occurred at the intersection of Walmore and Lockport roads in Wheatfield. Court papers said the car in which Jordan was riding was northbound and struck the truck, which was among several vehicles in line at a stop sign during the Friday afternoon rush hour.

The two-day trial before Justice Ralph A. Boniello III ended Thursday. Lennon said it was a "summary trial," with the sides agreeing in advance the verdict would not be appealed.


Town of Tonawanda man charged in two burglaries

Town of Tonawanda police have arrested a local resident in a pair of commercial burglaries last July, as they also investigate his possible involvement in a string of residential break-ins in late 2009 and early 2010.

Detectives arrested Christopher C. Sturniolo, 37, of Woodstock Avenue, Tonawanda, in connection with the July 9 burglaries of Heritage Christian Services and Pikes, Peaks and Paddles, both on Ellicott Creek Road.

Physical evidence recovered at the scene, along with DNA technology, helped crack the case, officials said.

Police also labeled Sturniolo a person of interest in the residential burglaries in the Green Acres neighborhood from 2009 and 2010. Detectives are looking through evidence to make a possible connection.

Following his arrest, Sturniolo was arraigned before Town Justice J. Mark Gruber, who sent him to the Erie County Holding Center on $10,000 bail.


Lackawanna man identified as fatal crash victim

A 53-year-old Lackawanna man was killed Sunday afternoon when another vehicle went out of control on Route 219, crossed the center line and struck his vehicle head-on in the Town of Ellicottville, state police reported.

Joseph Faircloth was pronounced dead at the scene, following the crash that occurred shortly after 1:35 p.m. on Route 219, just north of Jackman Hill Road.

Troopers said Faircloth was heading south when his vehicle was struck by a northbound vehicle driven by Matthew Disch, 33, of Henrietta. Officials said the road was snow- and ice-covered at the time of the crash.

Disch was taken to Bertrand Chaffee Hospital with a broken ankle. Three other occupants, apparently from the Faircloth vehicle, were taken to Bertrand Chaffee with injuries not believed to be serious.

Troopers are continuing to investigate the fatal crash.


Jacket stolen from chair in Quality Inn restaurant

NIAGARA FALLS -- A man's jacket was stolen while he was setting up equipment for his band's performance Saturday night in Legends Bar and Grill at the downtown Quality Inn.

Police said that the victim left his jacket on a chair in the lounge area of the First Street hotel and that someone took it. It contained a cell phone, credit cards and personal effects. The loss was estimated at $3,020.


Vacant Falls home sustains water damage from cut pipe

NIAGARA FALLS -- A would-be copper thief caused extensive damage to a vacant Forest Avenue home Saturday by cutting a water pipe and leaving the water flowing into the house.

Police were called to the home in the 2200 block of Forest Avenue shortly after 4 p.m. after someone noticed an open door and heard water running inside. Officers said a rear door had been forced open and that they found a flooded kitchen floor.

Upstairs they found a water pipe had been cut in a bathroom, causing the flooding. Officers were unable to check the basement of the home as it was about waist-deep with water, according to reports. The home is owned by a Lewiston woman and was for sale, police said.


Police hope to obtain DNA from burglar's tools

NIAGARA FALLS -- Police are testing tools found at a Calumet Avenue burglary scene to see if they can obtain the burglar's DNA.

The owner told police he came home from work around 8 p.m. Saturday and found that his front door had been kicked in and that much of his property inside had been moved. A safe had been moved from a bedroom into the basement, where an ax and other tools were apparently used in an unsuccessful attempt to open the safe.

Police said a handle and lock were broken off, but the safe never was entered. The victim told police that $100 in cash was taken from the home, but nothing else appeared to be missing.

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