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St. Joseph Church in Olean destroyed by fire

Fire destroyed the St. Joseph Catholic Maronite Rite Church in Olean Saturday afternoon.

A spokesman for the Olean Fire Department said firefighters were still on the scene Saturday evening.

Buffalo Bishop Edward W. Kmiec put out a statement of condolence.

"Our parishes in the Olean area have already reached out to their new pastor, Father Anthony Salem, and the St. Joseph Parish community," Kmiec said in the statement. "They will work to accommodate the faithful of St. Joseph Parish as they work to recover from this tragedy. I ask that everyone in the Diocese of Buffalo keep this parish in their prayers during their time of tremendous loss."


T-bone collision sends two drivers to hospitals

A T-bone collision between two vehicles late Friday night in Genesee County sent two people to local hospitals with non-life-threatening injuries, Genesee County sheriff's officials said.

The crash, involving a pickup truck and a van, occurred at about 10:20 p.m. at Route 98 and Lockport Road in the Town of Elba.

The male driver of the pickup truck was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester, while the female van driver was treated and released from United Memorial Medical Center in Batavia, authorities said.


Farmer escapes tractor just as flames erupt

HARTLAND -- A farmer narrowly escaped his burning tractor Friday morning after he inadvertently knocked down a live electrical line, which came to rest atop the vehicle, officials said.

Sheriff's deputies said that Gary McCollum, 72, of Gasport, called just before 8:30 a.m. to report being trapped in his $100,000 Cat tractor in a field on Hartland Road, just south of Champman Road. He was advised to remain inside the vehicle due to the danger from the live wire, and crews were sent to the scene.

Upon arrival, they found a fire burning beneath the tractor, but were unable to douse it with extinguishers. At that point, with the cab of the tractor filling with smoke, McCollum jumped safely from the vehicle, after which it erupted into flames. Crews from the Hartland Volunteer and Gasport Chemical Hose fire companies were able to put out the fire, but not before the tractor and a $20,000 disc tiller were damaged.

No one was hurt in the incident.


Boy, 13, stabbed twice in altercation over pot

A 13-year-old boy suffered two major cuts to his left forearm when he was stabbed twice during a Friday night fight that broke out in what police described as a marijuana-smoking session in South Buffalo.

Emergency workers told South District police that the boy, who lives off Seneca Street near Cazenovia Park, probably would need between 10 and 15 stitches for each wound.

The teenager approached a 24-year-old man with a black-handled steak knife, according to police reports. The older man, identified as Butch Heppner, of Zittel Street, took the knife from the juvenile and stabbed him twice, police said.

Officers charged Heppner with second-degree assault, marijuana sale and possession, endangering the welfare of a child and weapons possession, according to arrest reports.

The alleged attack occurred at about 7:25 p.m. Friday in Heppner's residence on Zittel Street, also off Seneca Street.


Buffalo man arrested in 2 Snyder break-ins

Amherst police arrested a 22-year-old Buffalo man in connection with two house burglaries early this summer in Snyder, detectives reported.

Darnell Lindsay, of Davidson Avenue, was charged Friday with burglary, following break-ins July 2 on Mount Vernon Road and July 3 on Amherstdale Road.


Driver asleep with pickup in ditch faces DWI count

An East Aurora man found sleeping behind the wheel of his pickup in a ditch Saturday morning has been charged with driving while intoxicated, Erie County sheriff's officials reported.

Deputies responded to a call of a pickup in a ditch on Bullis Road in the Town of Marilla at about 6:30 a.m. Following roadside sobriety tests, Paul E. Terwilliger II, 43, was charged with DWI and failing to stay in the traffic lane. Terwilliger refused to submit to a chemical test, according to police reports.


Two punched, robbed by 3 youths all in white

Two people were punched, one knocked unconscious and the other knocked to the ground, during a robbery early Saturday morning on Buffalo's lower West Side.

The two victims told Central District police that they were approached by three young men in their late teens or early 20s, dressed all in white, at about 3 a.m. at Pennsylvania Street and Plymouth Avenue.

Both were punched in the head and robbed of unspecified items. The thieves fled west on Pennsylvania toward Niagara Street, according to police.