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Latest DWI plea sends Falls man to prison again

LOCKPORT -- A Niagara Falls man will be making his second trip to prison for driving while intoxicated, Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III ordered Tuesday.

Bronson M. Cooper, 35, of A Street in the Cayuga Village mobile home park, was sentenced to 1 1/3 to four years behind bars. He had pleaded guilty to felony DWI in the wake of his March 27 arrest on Webster Street in North Tonawanda, where his blood alcohol content was measured at 0.13 percent.


Sanborn woman pleads guilty in painkiller case

A former employee of a controversial Niagara Falls pain doctor took a guilty plea Tuesday, admitting she conspired to possess drugs with intent to distribute.

Theresa Gansworth, 25, of Sanborn, pleaded guilty to the felony before U.S. District Judge Richard J. Arcara. She admitted that she was a pain pill addict when she worked in the office of Dr. Pravin Mehta, whose Niagara Falls office was shut down after his drug arrest in January, Assistant U.S. Attorney John E. Rogowski said.

While working in the office in February 2010, Gansworth tricked Mehta into signing a blank prescription form. She then forged his signature on other prescription forms and used them to illegally obtain the painkiller Lortab at Niagara County pharmacies, Rogowski said.

After an investigation by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, Niagara Falls police and other agencies, Mehta was arrested Jan. 27. Police said Mehta prescribed more narcotic painkillers during a 2 1/2 -year period than the other 157 doctors in Niagara Falls combined. Mehta surrendered his medical license in February, and felony drug charges are pending.


Ex-substitute rejects plea in rape of 14-year-old girl

NIAGARA FALLS -- A former long-term substitute for te Niagara Falls City School District accused of a raping a 14-year-old girl is expected to be indicted after he rejected a plea offer in City Court Tuesday.

John T. Summerson, 24, of 76th Street faces felony charges of second-degree rape and endangering the welfare of a child. He was accused in May of having consensual sex with a 14-year-old girl he was tutoring privately. Summerson had been employed d at Niagara Street Elementary School but no longer works there.

The felony case was adjourned in City Court until Aug. 12, but likely will be moved up to Niagara County Court because the case has already been presented to the grand jury, Niagara Falls City Court Judge Robert P. Merino said.

Summerson is represented by attorney James J. Faso Jr.


Search for two swimmers continues on smaller scale

The search for two swimmers who reportedly disappeared in the Lower Niagara River on Sunday evening continued Tuesday and is expected to resume today -- though scaled back considerably.

State Parks Police Sgt. James Riddle said that although police agencies have been alerted to the possibility of drownings, there have been no reports returned of missing persons.

Riddle said a patrolman will be stationed in the gorge and continue the search on a day-to-day basis."

The search commenced just after 6 p.m. Sunday after a witness told police he had seen two men swimming in the Lower Niagara beneath the Whirlpool Bridge who appeared to be in distress, then saw them swept down the river.


Police apprehend suspect in gas station robbery

NORTH TONAWANDA -- City police arrested a North Tonawanda man accused of tying up a clerk's wrists and forcing her to the floor in a robbery of a gas station.

Officers arrested Joseph Gregory 29, late Sunday, a few hours after the holdup about 6:30 p.m. Sunday at the Kwik Fill station on River Road. The robber zip-tied the clerk's wrists and displayed an object that looked like a gun, before fleeing with about $300, police said. A witness who later saw the thief get into a vehicle gave the license-plate number to police.

"We kept checking to see if [the suspect] returned home, once we determined who it was," Detective Robert Kalota said Monday.

A group of officers apprehended Gregory at his home. He was charged with robbery, unlawful imprisonment, weapons possession, petit larceny and aggravated unlicensed operation.


Suspect wanted in Florida apprehended after chase

LEWISTON -- A Hyde Park Boulevard man wanted in Florida on a probation violation faces more problems after fleeing from state police Tuesday and crashing into a security gate at the lower level of New York Power Authority Power Vista Tuesday.

Kyle Howard, 21, is charged with felony criminal mischief, fleeing from a police officer and reckless endangerment.

When Trooper Don Ginnane attempted to stop Howard for a seat belt violation at 3 p.m. on Route 31, the suspect took off, police said. Sgt. Philip Bourque said the chase continued for about two miles.

Howard was on probation for a violent felony in Florida and had his probation revoked, police said.