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Person of interest sought in Amherst bank robbery

Amherst police are investigating a bank robbery that occurred Monday afternoon near the Boulevard Mall and want to talk to a person of interest in the case.

A robber entered the M&T branch at 1205 Niagara Falls Blvd. at about 1 p.m. and handed the teller a note saying he had a gun and demanded money, police said. He was last seen leaving the bank heading north on foot.

Lt. Richard Walter said Monday that police want to talk to Pat McGroder, 51, whom he described as 6 feet tall, 175 pounds with salt-and-pepper hair.

Walter said anyone who spots McGroder should not approach him but instead contact the Amherst Police Department immediately at 689-1343 or 689-1311.


Driver in Ontario crash may be paralyzed, police say

WEST LINCOLN, Ont. -- A Stoney Creek man remained hospitalized Monday night with possible paralysis after he was at the wheel during a crash early Sunday on Ontario Regional Road 20, Niagara Regional Police reported.

The name of the driver badly hurt in the crash has yet to be released while the investigation continues. Police said they are looking into the possibility that speed and alcohol were contributing factors.

Ronald Horvat, 45, of Stoney Creek, the lone passenger in the pickup that left the roadway near South Grimsby Road, died at the scene.

Horvat and the driver were eastbound on Regional Road 20 when the driver lost control, and the vehicle left the roadway, overcorrected, crossed the center line and slammed the pickup into a utility pole, police said.

The vehicle crashed on the passenger side, partially ejecting Horvat, who was pronounced dead at about 2:30 a.m. Sunday. The driver was taken by air ambulance to Hamilton General Hospital. He was in critical condition Monday. Witnesses to the crash are urged to contact investigators at (905) 688-4111, Ext. 5500.


Troopers' DWI blitz nets 3 arrests after Bills game

State police made three arrests for driving while intoxicated during a DWI saturation blitz coinciding with the Buffalo Bills home opener Sunday.

Troopers from Boston and Clarence issued a total of 70 traffic tickets, including 48 for speeding and 19 for other traffic violations.

The three people charged with DWI were:

*Kelly A. Martin, 24, of Lancaster, who was stopped for speeding on Transit Road in the Town of Elma. A breath test revealed a blood-alcohol content of 0.17 percent, troopers said.

*Patrick G. Caldwell, 46, of Marcellus, who was stopped for failure to keep right on Wehrle Drive in the Town of Clarence. His blood-alcohol level was 0.13 percent, according to state police records.

*Brett Crossley, 25, of Columbus, Ohio, who was stopped for failure to signal on Route 400 in the Town of West Seneca. His breath test revealed a blood-alcohol level of 0.08 percent, troopers said.


Near miss with patrol car results in DWI charge

YOUNGSTOWN -- A village man was charged Sunday with driving while intoxicated after he crossed the center line and nearly collided with a deputy's patrol car on Blairville Road, Niagara County sheriff's officials said Monday.

Deputies said they swerved to avoid the driver and then went back and followed him, observing him driving on the shoulder.

David C. Ellcome, 44, of Church Street, was additionally charged with failure to keep right and driving on the shoulder just after 4:30 p.m.

Deputies said Ellcome appeared intoxicated and tested positive on a breath screening, but refused to take a blood test.


Man accused of shooting at people after an argument

NIAGARA FALLS -- City police received several calls over the weekend of shots fired and gunshot damage, and two people were charged Sunday in weapons-related incidents.

Robert L. Hilson, 20, of Niagara Street, was charged with second-degree menacing and reckless endangerment. Police said they found him hiding in a Niagara Avenue basement and ordered him out at gunpoint. Several witnesses said Hilson fired at them following an argument. Police recovered a handgun at the scene.

In an unrelated case, a woman with a weapon was charged just after 2 a.m. Sunday following a domestic violence report on Parkview Drive. Police did not specify the weapon. Patrice Ann Coffie, 43, of Parkview Drive was charged with second-degree assault with a weapon.


Furnace start-up ignites small fire in Pendleton

PENDLETON -- A furnace being started for the season caught fire Sunday.

The Wendelville Volunteer Fire Department responded at 9:48 a.m. to a home on Tonawanda Creek Road. The 80-year-old homeowner said she called for help when she noticed smoke in her basement and a small fire coming from the furnace.