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POLICE & COURTS

Condition of Eden driver who sheared pole upgraded

An Eden man who was seriously injured when his car sheared off a utility pole and came to a stop against a large tree at about 3 a.m. Saturday at Routes 62 and 75 was reported in improved condition Sunday in Erie County Medical Center.

Michael Zittel, 22, was freed from the wreckage by the Eden Emergency and Rescue Squad. He was first listed in critical condition at the hospital, but a spokeswoman said Sunday night his condition was upgraded to serious.

Police charged him with driving at imprudent speed and not wearing a seat belt.

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Man shot in police struggle improves to stable condition

The condition of a 21-year-old man shot by a Buffalo police officer during a struggle over a rifle was improved from serious to stable Sunday in Erie County Medical Center.

A hospital spokeswoman said Joseph L. Craig, of Wyoming Avenue, was in stable condition Sunday night.

Craig was charged with criminal possession of a weapon, menacing, obstruction of governmental administration and drug possession, according to police reports. Officers said he was captured after a short foot chase at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday in the Genesee-Moselle neighborhood.

Police said he was subdued in the 200 block of Stevens Avenue after a short struggle, and he was carrying two baggies filled with cocaine. They said he was armed with an assault rifle.

Another man who had been walking with Craig fled on foot and was being sought, police reported.

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DWI charged after car is left in middle of road

A motorist was charged with drunken driving after his car was found abandoned early Sunday in the middle of a Clarence road -- with a fire hydrant lodged beneath it, Erie County sheriff's deputies reported.

Deputies Patrick McMahon and Gene Nati were dispatched to Sawmill Road shortly after 3 a.m. to investigate a complaint about a revving engine. McMahon found a damaged car abandoned in the middle of the road.

It subsequently was determined that the car had been involved in a crash on Stage Road in Newstead, where it left the roadway, hit the fire hydrant and some brush, then left the scene.

Nati, who responded to the call from a different direction, came across a man -- who appeared intoxicated -- walking down Sawmill Road. That man, Harold K. Frey Jr. 47, of Clarence, admitted he had been driving the car, deputies said.

Frey was taken into custody for driving while intoxicated and was found to have a blood-alcohol content of 0.13 percent.

He was released on appearance tickets, deputies said.

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Excessively tinted window leads to drug charges

Driving a car with an excessively tinted window led to a series of charges Sunday morning against a Hamburg man.

Buffalo police said they stopped Wayne D. Woodruff, 31, of Smith Road, at 1:40 a.m. on 19th Street because of the tinted window.

Upon leaving the car, Woodruff dropped a hypodermic needle onto the street next to a patrol car, and officers found a baggie containing cocaine in his pocket, investigators said. He was taken to the Erie County Holding Center, where Erie County sheriff's deputies said they found three glassine envelopes containing heroin.

Woodruff was charged with seventh-degree possession of a controlled substance, possession of a hypodermic instrument, second-degree promoting prison contraband and driving with an excessively tinted window.

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House fire kills 2 dogs, causes extensive damage

Two dogs died in a weekend fire that caused extensive damage at a Riverside-area home, according to Buffalo fire dispatch.

The blaze at 58 Hartman Place was reported shortly after 11:30 p.m. Saturday.

It started on the second floor of the 2 1/2 -story frame home and spread to the attic, a dispatcher said.

Damage was estimated at $75,000 to the structure and $25,000 to the contents, the dispatcher said. The cause remained under investigation Sunday.

The Red Cross was called to assist two adults and one child. A firefighter was injured but was able to remain on duty.

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Gun tossed from car; four people arrested

Four people were arrested early Sunday after a gun was tossed from the car in which they were traveling, Buffalo police reported.

Ferry-Fillmore District officers were dispatched shortly after 4 a.m. on a report of shots fired from a car being driven in the area of Fillmore Avenue and Paderewski Drive. Officers spotted the car and followed it; they said they saw a gun thrown from a rear passenger window when the car was in the area of Sycamore Street and Rother Avenue.

The car was pulled over on Rother, and its occupants taken into custody. Charged with criminal possession of a weapon were: Odarius A. Hamilton, 23, of Burgard Street; Fleton Osteen, 25, of Moselle Street; Amanda B. Gilliam, 22, of Parkridge Street; and Sophia G. Bailey, 26, of Lisbon Avenue.