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NIAGARA POLICE & COURTS

Man hit, killed by train in North Tonawanda

An unidentified man was killed when he was hit by a CSX freight train at about 3 p.m. Friday on tracks near River Road in North Tonawanda.

North Tonawanda Police Patrol Captain Roger Zgolak said the fatal incident remains under investigation by police and CSX officials.

Zgolak said: "People should know to stay off the railroad tracks. It's a dangerous place. These are big, moving pieces of iron, and that's no place for anybody to be."

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Albion man's death probed after one-car accident

ALBION -- Albion police Friday were investigating the death of a man who was found at the scene of a one-car accident on East Avenue in the village.

The driver was identified as Clifford J. Kelley of Ridge Road, Albion. He was unresponsive when police, Albion Fire Department officials and emergency medical technicians from the Central Orleans Volunteer Ambulance arrived on the scene about 3:09 p.m. The vehicle Kelley apparently had been driving was found stopped off the roadway and against nearby utility pole guide wires.

Kelley was transported to Medina Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police Friday were unsure of whether Kelley's death was the result of the accident or a medical issue that preceded the accident.

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3 hurt when welding crew hits natural gas pocket

NIAGARA FALLS, Ont. -- Three workers suffered non-life-threatening injuries when a welding crew hit a natural gas pocket in the Ontario Power Generation's water diversion tunnel project under the city about 11:30 a.m. Friday, the Ontario Ministry of Labour reported.

One man suffered leg burns, one suffered a shoulder injury and the third was treated for shock.

Ministry of Labour spokesmen said the workers hit a natural gas pocket while welding through the tunnel lining, causing an explosion. The spokesman said the accident occurred about 4 miles from the tunnel's outlet portal.

The $1.6 billion, 6-mile tunnel was built to increase the output of the Sir Adam Beck generating stations. Drilling was completed a year ago, and the tunnel is supposed to be operational next year.

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Copper thief promised probation by judge

LOCKPORT -- A man charged in connection with the January theft of $50,000 worth of copper and other metal parts from a Wheatfield shopping mall was promised probation Friday, as State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. departed from his policy of incarceration for all copper thieves.

"It looks like you were a secondary player," Kloch told Anthony C. LoPiccolo, 43, of Colvin Boulevard, Niagara Falls. "You can't just have a rule and stand by a rule. That's not justice."

LoPiccolo will return to court May 30, after being screened for a court-supervised drug treatment program, to plead guilty to attempted third-degree grand larceny. He told police he is a heroin addict.

Charges are still pending against co-defendant Patrick J. Dugan, 28, of Walmore Road, Wheatfield, whom Kloch refused to admit to the drug treatment program.

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4 illegal immigrants arrested in Orleans County

Officers in Orleans County apprehended four illegal immigrants Thursday, one of whom was an Immigration and Customs Enforcement fugitive.

The apprehensions occurred during a five-hour traffic checkpoint on Route 104 in the Town of Gaines.

Juan C. Contreras-Mendez, 29, of Hamlin in Monroe County, was arrested on the fugitive warrant and turned over to Immigration officials. The other three apprehensions were of undocumented immigrants who were also turned over to Immigration officials.

About 700 motor vehicles were stopped at the checkpoint. Several tickets also were issued for various vehicle and traffic violations.

Participating in the detail were Orleans County sheriff's deputies and officers with the State Department of Environmental Conservation, U.S. Border Patrol and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

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Falls cab driver escapes attempted robbery by 2 men

NIAGARA FALLS -- A cab driver managed to avoid being robbed and escaped unhurt after an attempted holdup just after midnight Wednesday.

The driver said that when he was dispatched to pick up a fare in the 3600 block of Dudley Avenue, two men approached him and one pointed a gun at him and demanded money.

The driver, who kept his doors locked, refused and drove off as the two chased him. He said he was able to lose the men and call police, police reported.

The man who approached with a gun was described as in his 40s, 5 foot 9 inches, 240 pounds, wearing a dark hoodie and dark pants. The second suspect was 5 foot 7 inches, 240 pounds, dressed in a hoodie and blue jeans.

In two other recent armed robberies, one reported Monday and the other last week, the suspects were able to get into the cabs and take money and cellphones from the drivers.