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Olean man who endangered estranged wife and young child sent to prison

Richard A. Romero Jr., 36, of Olean, was ordered Monday by Cattaraugus County Judge Ronald D. Ploetz in Little Valley to serve a two- to four-year state prison term for forcing his estranged wife at gunpoint to drive him and their then-15-month-old daughter around town for hours on March 23, 2014.

In custody at the Cattaraugus County Jail for over a year, Romero, who pleaded guilty to third-degree burglary and first-degree reckless endangerment Nov. 30, was denounced by District Attorney Lori Pettit Rieman for his “depraved indifference to human life.”

Sentenced as a predicate or repeat felon, Romero began the incident by forcing his two victims into a car on South Second Street and forcing his estranged wife to drive him to a home on North 11th Street, where he loaded electronic devices and a shotgun into a pillowcase. He then ordered her to drive him around town until he got out of the car and she managed to call police, who tracked him down and arrested him, prosecutors said.

Also Monday before Ploetz:

• Jared Wrazen, 23, of Delavan, pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging him with third-degree unlawful manufacture of methamphetamine and criminal possession of precursors of methamphetamine as a result of his Nov. 30 arrest by the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force and the Wyoming County Drug Task Force for allegedly operating a meth lab at his Cobb Avenue house.

• Jeremy Foster, 25, of Salamanca, was ordered to serve a five-year state prison term and submit to three years of post-prison supervision on his pre-indictment guilty plea Nov. 2 to felony charges of third-degree attempted criminal possession of a controlled substance and fourth-degree attempted criminal sale of a controlled substance for drug sales in the City of Salamanca in December 2014 and last May 14. He was also sentenced to a one-year term at the Cattaraugus County Jail on a probation violation conviction in an earlier case concurrent with his prison term.

• Christopher M. Stewart, 37, of Olean, was ordered to serve a three-year state prison term and submit to three years of post-prison supervision on his third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance conviction for drug sales in the City of Salamanca on June 10 and June 11, 2014.

• Ricky S. Schwab, 55, of Yorkshire, pleaded guilty to a felony burglary charge for the theft of over $3,000 worth of property during a Town of Yorkshire break-in last July 8. He faces sentencing March 14.

• Katie Willis, 26, of Olean, pleaded guilty to a felony charge of third-degree criminal sale of a controlled substance for a City of Olean deal last June 11. She faces sentencing on Feb. 6, 2017, if she successfully completes Drug Court treatment, which the judge also ordered.

• Steven Holt, 39, of Olean, pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging him with a felony count of third-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance for an alleged attempt to sell it in the City of Olean Dec. 4.

• Brandon D. Orth, 29, of Cattaraugus, pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging him with second-degree criminal possession of a forged instrument, fourth-degree criminal possession of stolen property and petit larceny for allegedly using a forged check to make purchases in the City of Salamanca last June 30.

• Kyle Claypool, 28, of Salamanca, pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging him with third-degree criminal possession of stolen property for allegedly taking over $3,000 worth of property during a break-in in the City of Salamanca last July 29.

• Jaci L. Gibbons, 30, of Olean, pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging her with third-degree criminal possession and sale of drugs for an alleged incident in the City of Olean last Oct. 6.

• Donnell Parrish, 26, of Olean, pleaded not guilty to an indictment charging him with third-degree criminal possession and sale of a controlled substance for an incident in the City of Olean last Oct. 29.

• Jason P. Turek, 40, of Randolph, was placed on probation for five years, ordered to perform 240 hours of community service, his driver’s license was revoked for one year and he was ordered to use an ignition interlock device in any vehicle he drives for one year after he regains his driver’s license. He was convicted of felony driving while intoxicated after being pulled over in the City of Olean last March 1, when he tested for a blood-alcohol content of 0.28 percent, more than three times the state’s legal limit.

• Justin S. Zimmer, 35, of Cattaraugus, was placed on probation for five years, fined $750, his driver’s license was revoked for one year and he was ordered to use an ignition interlock device on any vehicle he operates after he regains his license. He was convicted of felony driving while intoxicated in the Town of New Albion last July 11 when he registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.16 percent, twice the state’s legal limit.

• Stacey D. Powell, 30, of Olean, was placed on probation for five years, her driver’s license was revoked for one year and she was ordered to use an ignition interlock device in any vehicle she operates for a year after regaining her license. She was convicted of felony DWI in the City of Olean last Aug. 27 when she registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.16 percent, twice the state’s legal limit.

email: mgryta@buffnews.com