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POLICE & COURTS

Black Rock fire causes damage to vacant house

A fire in a vacant house in Buffalo's Black Rock neighborhood caused $50,000 damage Monday afternoon, according to city fire officials.

The blaze was reported at 4:09 p.m. at 107 Hamilton St., a two-story house between Niagara and Tonawanda streets. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

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Woman arrested in assault of Walmart greeter, 70

TOWN OF BATAVIA -- A 26-year-old woman is due in court next month to face charges she caused several facial fractures to a 70-year-old greeter at Walmart.

Jacquetta Simmons, of the City of Batavia, was arrested after an incident on Christmas Eve morning at the Walmart on Veterans Memorial Drive, state police said.

Simmons is accused of punching the victim in the face after she was asked to verify the contents of her bag, troopers said.

The victim was treated in United Memorial Medical Center.

Simmons faces two counts of assault. She was arraigned Sunday in Town Court and sent to the Genesee County Jail and released on $40,000 bond. She was scheduled to reappear in court Jan. 23.

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Cab driver in Falls robbed at gunpoint

NIAGARA FALLS -- A taxi driver was robbed at gunpoint near Niagara Falls Boulevard and 47th Street on Sunday night, police said.

The driver told police he was dropping off a fare near that intersection at about 9:38 p.m. when he felt a gun put to the back of his head, Niagara Falls Police Lt. Michael Trane said.

The robber, who made off with an undetermined amount of cash, fled the area on foot through a nearby field, but not before cutting the driver on the hand as he apparently tried to slice the vehicle's microphone cord, police said.

Several police agencies responded to help in the search, including Lewiston Police K-9 unit, State Parks Police, Niagara County Sheriff's Office, State Police, U.S. Border Patrol and the Erie County Sheriff's Office helicopter.

The robber was described as a black male in his early 30s, 5 feet, 7 inches to 5 feet, 8 inches in height, and weighing about 130 pounds. He was wearing a gray hoodie and dark sweatpants.

Anyone with information about the holdup is asked to call city detectives at 286-4553.

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Homeless man struck by train's snowplow

TOWN OF BATAVIA -- A homeless man suffered an arm injury when he was struck by a CSX train over the weekend, Genesee County sheriff's officials said.

Someone from the train reported that a man walking on the tracks had been hit by the freight train shortly before 4 a.m. Saturday, near Wortendyke Road.

The victim, identified as Richard J. Kubus, 31, was walking on the outside railroad ties along the track when he was hit by the snowplow of the freight train. Kubus suffered an arm injury, which was not considered life-threatening, deputies said.

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One hospitalized, one jailed in Fredonia fight

FREDONIA -- A fight a West Main Street bar over the weekend sent one man to the hospital with a cut to his forehead and landed one main in jail, police said.

The fight at Coughlin's Bar was reported shortly before 2 a.m. Saturday.

Police said that Ryan Brown, 25, of Augusta, Ga., was home for the holidays in Fredonia when an altercation broke out inside the bar. Police believe Brown struck a 23-year-old Fredonia man in head with a beer bottle. The victim was treated in Brooks Memorial Hospital and later released.

Brown was charged with second-degree assault.

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DWI among charges in attempt to elude police

ELLICOTT -- A Jamestown man was charged with driving while intoxicated and a slew of other charges over the weekend after he tried to elude police by pulling into a random driveway, Chautauqua County sheriff's officials said.

At about 3 a.m. Saturday, sheriff's deputies on patrol observed a vehicle fail to signal a turn from Route 60 onto Marvin Parkway in the Town of Ellicott. The deputies said they also noticed that the car was speeding and a brake light was out.

The deputies activated their emergency lights and tried to get the driver to pull over. The driver refused to comply and turned into a driveway in a futile effort to hide.

Deputies located the driver, identified as Reece Baker, 19, and he was taken into custody.

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Candle blamed in fire that destroyed home

ELLICOTT -- A lit candle that fell from a wall mounted candle holder touched off a fire that destroyed a home on Buffalo Street Extension over the weekend, Chautauqua County sheriff's officials said.

The fire was reported at about 6:45 p.m. Friday at 2014 Buffalo St. Extension.

Investigators said the candle fell from the wall onto a couch.

The house was considered a total loss. No injuries were reported.