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Lawyers seek plea deal in crash injuring deputy

PORTER -- Lawyers are trying to come up with a plea deal in a driving while intoxicated case tied to a crash that severely injured Niagara County Sheriff Deputy Allan Gerhardt two months ago.

Todd M. Hauser, 35, of Ransomville, was charged with DWI and leaving the scene of an accident. He appeared in Town Court Monday morning for a hearing to discuss the admissibility of statements made the night of his arrest.

His lawyer, George V.C. Muscato said after the appearance that the hearing will not be necessary if the case can be resolved with a plea deal.

Both sides said they expect to have a resolution by December, but the details of the plea were not discussed. The case was adjourned to Dec. 13.

Hauser, 35, struck a parked car on Youngstown-Lockport Road in the early morning of July 18 then drove off and ran into the woods when he was pulled over a short distance away, deputies said.

Gerhardt, 36, was one of the deputies who responded to a call for help and then crashed into a guardrail on his way, suffering serious injuries that resulted in the loss of both his legs.


Three charged with DWI, 43 others ticketed

State police charged three people with driving while intoxicated and ticketed 43 other drivers for traffic violations during a DWI saturation patrol coinciding with Sunday's Buffalo Bills game.

Troopers ticketed 19 people for speeding and 24 for other traffic violations. The DWI arrests were spread out, in Orchard Park, Elma and the City of Buffalo.

Charged with DWI were:

*Brett N. Welgoss, 31, of Buffalo, who was stopped at 5:55 p.m. for driving at 50 mph in a 35-mph zone on Abbott Road in the Town of Orchard Park. He was charged with aggravated DWI, after state police said he recorded a blood-alcohol level of 0.18 percent.

*Daniel S. Malinowski, 67, of Buffalo, who was stopped at 7:40 p.m. for failing to keep right on Bullis Road in the Town of Elma. Troopers said he recorded a blood-alcohol level of 0.14 percent.

*Nicholas Birke, 33, of North Tonawanda, who was charged with DWI after his vehicle crashed into a barrier on the Smith Street-Fillmore Avenue exit ramp off the Niagara Thruway in Buffalo shortly before 8 p.m. His blood-alcohol level was 0.13 percent, according to police reports.


DUI baby sitter gets time in jail and probation

A Hamburg woman who drove under the influence of a narcotic drug while baby-sitting two children was sentenced Monday to four months in jail and five years' probation.

Erie County Judge Michael L. D'Amico sentenced Rachel Martinez, 29, who pleaded guilty in March to a Leandra's Law felony.

Martinez was driving with a 2-year-old boy and 4-year-old girl on Big Tree Road in July 2010 when she crashed into an oncoming car. No one was injured in the crash. The narcotic drug she used is designed to wean people off opiates.

Martinez could have been sent to prison for up to four years.

The mother of the two children previously said the crash has left them suffering from panic attacks and nightmares.


Woman pleads guilty under Leandra's Law

LOCKPORT -- A City of Tonawanda woman pleaded guilty Monday to felony driving while intoxicated for driving drunk with three children in her car.

Bonnie A. Will, 39, of Morgan Street, admitted to the felony charge under Leandra's Law, which makes driving while intoxicated an automatic felony when children are in the vehicle. Charges of endangering the welfare of a child were dismissed. Her license remains revoked.

Judge Sara Sheldon Sperrazza told Will she faces up to 1 1/3 to four years in state prison and a $5,000 fine when she returns for sentencing Nov. 21.

Will was stopped at 8:48 a.m. Feb. 22 on River Road in North Tonawanda with a blood-alcohol level of 0.33 percent. Police found her 9-year-old daughter and two neighbor children, all under age 15, in the vehicle.

Will told the court that she surrendered custody of her daughter to her ex-husband in Family Court. She said she has completed drug and alcohol counseling and is now participating in an outpatient clinic.


Ex-Rochester Amerk faces up to 20 years in pot case

ROCHESTER -- Sean McMorrow, a former enforcer for the Rochester Americans of the American Hockey League, pleaded guilty Monday to conspiracy to possess with intent to distribute and distributing marijuana.

U.S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr. said McMorrow, 29, of Toronto, faces up to 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $1 million, or both, when he is sentenced Jan. 11 before U.S. District Judge David G. Larimer. McMorrow, who played for the Amerks from 2003 through 2006, imported large quantities of marijuana inside hockey bags during much of that time from Canada into the United States over the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls, according to Assistant U.S. Attorneys Brett A. Harvey and Douglas E. Gregory.

McMorrow also used various individuals, including two women, as drug couriers, Hochul said.