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Damage placed at $90,000 in fire started on porch

A fire that started on the porch of a West Side home late Friday night spread into the house, causing an estimated $90,000 damage and also damaging the exterior of the building next door, Buffalo fire officials reported today.

Firefighters responded to a 10:08 p.m. alarm at 551 Busti Ave., near Porter Avenue. The house is described as an occupied 2 1/2 -story home.

The blaze also spread next door, causing an estimated $1,000 exposure damage at 549 Busti. The cause remains under investigation.


Eighth Street woman accused of knife attack

NIAGARA FALLS -- Police who went to an Eighth Street home Friday evening to investigate a possible burglary in progress found a woman straddling another woman, threatening to stab her.

The attacker, police said, threw down her knife as police arrived and was quickly taken into custody. Tina M. Douglass, 48, of Eighth Street, was charged with second-degree assault and second-degree menacing.

Police said Douglass confronted the victim, 45, over missing items. Douglass pulled the woman to the ground, punched and kicked her and then cut her beneath her left eye with a knife. She also threatened to cut the woman's throat and have her raped, police said.

The victim was not seriously injured, police added.


Driver flees on foot after near collision

HARTLAND -- Police said a Lockport man was driving 90 mph when he nearly collided head-on with a Niagara County sheriff's patrol vehicle shortly after 2 a.m. Friday on Ridge Road.

Mark F. Benedict Jr., 30, of Lower Mountain Road, was charged with second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, reckless driving and resisting arrest.

Benedict was eastbound when he almost smacked into the westbound patrol vehicle, which was forced onto the shoulder of the road, deputies said. Benedict, who refused to stop, pulled into a tavern parking lot and fled on foot into the woods, deputies said. He surrendered later.


Woman expecting a ride is dragged and jettisoned

NIAGARA FALLS -- A Ninth Street woman was injured about 12:30 a.m. Saturday when she was dragged a short distance by a vehicle she had been trying to enter, police said.

The incident occurred in the Jordan Gardens housing complex, where the woman had been expecting her boyfriend to pick her up, police said. However, another man pulled up in the boyfriend's vehicle and told her to get in. When the woman partially entered the vehicle, the driver accelerated, dragging the woman who tumbled into the street, police said.

Anthony F. Howard, 46, of Garden Avenue, was arrested a short time later and charged with harassment and second-degree reckless endangerment.


New acquaintance steals woman's Dodge on the sly

NIAGARA FALLS -- The car of a Staten Island woman was stolen Friday morning by a man she had just met, police said.

The woman and the man were moving items into an apartment on 19th Street but when the acquaintance remained outside, he got into her 2001 Dodge and drove off, police said.


North Tonawanda man gets probation in gun case

LOCKPORT -- A North Tonawanda man who pleaded guilty to felony gun possession charges was sentenced to five years' probation last week by Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas.

Max D. Thompson, 26, was sitting in his Mead Street home Feb. 18, 2011, when a passing motorist struck the door of Thompson's parked car, which had been blown open by a strong wind.

Police officers who entered Thompson's home to talk about the accident arrested him when they found a weapon resembling an AR-15 assault rifle.


Pair of suspects arrested in armed Riley St. holdup

Two men and are being held on robbery and other charges for the armed holdup of a man in the 400 block of Riley Street on Thursday.

Torrey M. Overstreet, 31, was arrested on Riley shortly after 2:30 p.m. Jimmie L. Thornton, 32, was arrested by Hamburg town police later that afternoon. Both are charged with second-degree robbery, menacing and criminal possession of stolen property.