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Police chase results in arrest of two

Two men were arrested Tuesday following a late-morning police chase in the towns of Niagara and Lewiston, state police reported.

Authorities arrested Aaron L. Mount Pleasant, 34, of Lewiston, and charged him with unlawful fleeing of a police officer, reckless endangerment, reckless driving and other traffic violations.

His passenger, Mitchell L. Jacobs, 50, of Niagara Falls, was arrested and turned over to Niagara Falls authorities on a warrant for a disorderly conduct charge.

The incident began at about 11:40 a.m., when Trooper Joseph Battaglia, traveling west on Upper Mountain Road, saw a vehicle enter the roadway without any license plates or a valid inspection sticker. Battaglia reported that Mount Pleasant, the driver, allegedly failed to pull over and traveled from Upper Mountain Road onto Walmore Road, Route 31 and then Chew Road before turning into a field.

When Mount Pleasant's vehicle became disabled in mud, he and Jacobs bailed out of the vehicle and fled on foot, the trooper said. Both were eventually tracked down and arrested.


Not-guilty plea entered in stabbing of neighbor

LOCKPORT -- A Wilson man who allegedly stabbed a neighbor Oct. 17 in an argument over barking dogs pleaded not guilty to two felony charges in a Niagara County Court arraignment Tuesday.

Gerald J. Stauder, 67, of Maple Street in the Dorwood mobile home park, was indicted on counts of second-degree assault and attempted first-degree assault. Judge Matthew J. Murphy III continued Stauder jailed in lieu of $100,000 bail originally set in Town Court.

The victim, Dwayne S. Klumpp, 50, was hospitalized for several days after being knifed in the abdomen, Assistant District Attorney Brian D. Seaman said.

Murphy said he was influenced in his bail decision by the fact that the Sheriff's Office Emergency Response Team had to storm Stauder's trailer after a seven-hour standoff.


Woman enters guilty plea to attempted firebombing

LOCKPORT -- A Town of Tonawanda woman pleaded guilty Tuesday to taking part in the attempted Oct. 12 firebombing of a North Tonawanda home and was assigned to the judicial diversion program of court-supervised drug treatment.

Cynthia M. Aponte, 20, of Channing Place, admitted to attempted second-degree criminal mischief. Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III said she could go to prison for up to four years if she fails in treatment, but she will receive a misdemeanor plea and a probation sentence if she succeeds.

Assistant District Attorney Theresa L. Prezioso said Aponte drove her ex-boyfriend, Stephen J. Ralston, 21, of the Town of Tonawanda, to Center Avenue in North Tonawanda and gave him a bottle and gasoline to fill it. Ralston threw the bottle, but it bounced off the house and caught fire on a terrace, damaging only the lawn.

The would-be target was the estranged husband of Ralston's sister, Aponte said. Ralston pleaded guilty two weeks ago to attempted third-degree arson and could be sentenced Feb. 28 to as long as seven years in prison.


Attorney for ex-Falls cop loses dismissal plea

LOCKPORT -- The attorney for suspended Niagara Falls Police Lt. David W. Kinney failed Tuesday in an effort to win a dismissal of one of the three misdemeanor charges Kinney faces.

State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. told attorney James P. Harrington that a third-degree menacing charge looked "sketchy, tenuous, iffy," but Kloch decided it should be considered if the case goes to trial.

Kinney, 45, a 16-year police veteran, also is charged with two counts of second-degree criminal trespass in alleged incidents at his girlfriend's home in the Falls July 23 and Aug. 9. Another man was present on the latter occasion, from which the menacing charge resulted, Assistant District Attorney Lisa M. Baehre said. Kinney was arrested Oct. 5.

After a 20-minute conference in his chambers with Baehre and Harrington, Kloch adjourned the case until a Jan. 24 pretrial conference.


Gasport fire destroys barn, all its contents

GASPORT -- A barn and all its contents were destroyed following a fire Monday morning. Damage was listed at over $38,000, according to the Niagara County Sheriff's Office.

The two-story barn at 4870 Gasport Road was found on fire at 6 a.m. Monday, deputies said.

The 82-year-old owner, Alice M. Hennebohl, told deputies she awoke at 5:30 a.m. and noticed flickering lights and then looked outside and found the barn was on fire.

Devan D. Gominiak, who lived at the same address, said he had numerous items stored in the garage that he was unable to save.

Property included hand tools and power tools, a golf cart, a mini bike, a foosball table, a refrigerator, go-kart, radio and speakers, a BB gun, a grill and an air compressor.

Terry's Corners Volunteer Fire Department responded. The cause of the fire remains unknown and an investigation is being conducted, deputies reported.