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Suspect in Tuesday's hostage situation arraigned on burglary, strangulation charges

Suspect in Tuesday's hostage situation arraigned on burglary, strangulation charges

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A suspect who was involved in a police chase Tuesday on Route 438 in Collins that resulted in a fiery crash followed by a hostage situation before it was defused by State Police has been arraigned on charges stemming from a prior burglary.

Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt said 43-year-old Hiram Rivera was arraigned Wednesday in Stockton Town Court on charges of first-degree burglary, second-degree strangulation and two counts of fourth-degree grand larceny. Rivera remains in custody at the Chautauqua County Jail.

Schmidt said an arrest warrant for possession of stolen property had been issued by the Chautauqua County Sheriff's Office for Rivera prior to Tuesday's chase and three-hour standoff with police. At about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, a State Police officer had initiated a traffic stop on Route 438 in which Rivera was identified as wanted by law enforcement.

A State Police spokesman said Rivera fled from the scene. After a brief chase, the vehicle he was driving slammed into another vehicle and caught on fire. Rivera eventually got out of the car and took his female passenger hostage, dragging her into a wooded area near Versailles Plank Road, where he kept law enforcement officers from multiple agencies at bay for more than three hours, according to Trooper James O'Callahan, a public information officer out of Troop A in Batavia.

Rivera was armed with a handgun and a knife, but police negotiators eventually talked Rivera into releasing his hostage and giving up his weapons.

O'Callahan, on Wednesday, said charges had not yet been filed against Rivera in connection with Tuesday's car chase and alleged hostage standoff.

Schmidt said it is not clear yet whether or not Rivera would face additional charges of kidnapping or unlawful imprisonment in Chautauqua County stemming from Tuesday's chase and hostage standoff.

"There is a jurisdictional question as to where the hostage situation began. We're looking at that because the chase that developed into the hostage situation started in Silver Creek in Chautauqua County and then crossed over into Erie County," said Schmidt. 

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