Afternoon News Brief
Written by Doug Thompson on January 19, 2023
A Buffalo man is facing up to 15 years in prison for his role in a deadly hit-and-run that happened more than five years ago. Yesterday, a jury found 36-year-old D’Mario Caesar guilty of striking a pedestrian who was crossing the street near Bailey Avenue in Buffalo back in July 2017. The victim, who was later identified as 31-year-old Brandyn Mallory, passed away due to his injuries at Erie County Medical Center. Caesar will be sentenced in March and is behind bars without bail.
Gates police are still trying to track down the driver who was involved in a deadly hit-and-run in their community. They say 55-year-old Brenda Wells of Hilton was struck Sunday night on Elmgrove Road near a YMCA, in Gates. She was rushed to a nearby hospital but passed away due to her injuries on Tuesday. Police have found the vehicle that hit her and the investigation continues. (Police are asking anyone with information to contact them at 585-247-2262.)
A nearly 21 acre solar farm has been proposed to the Town of Batavia to be located at 7755 Oak Orchard Drive (Route 98). The property is owned by Call Farms and the portion required for the project would be leased. The parcel is presently being used as farmland, with some forested areas. The company developing the project is New Leaf Energy and is seeking a special use permit to install the 5-megawatt solar system. A public hearing about the proposal is scheduled for March 7th at Town Hall.
A 5-year-old boy was critically injured with burns in a residential house fire in Wilson. Niagara County Sheriff’s tell us a 35-year-old man was also injured in the fire at 140 Harbor Street. A 41-year-old woman was uninjured and accompanied her son to Oishei Children’s Hospital. Three dogs were rescued by deputies from the fire and given to neighbors for safekeeping at the owner’s request. There is no property damage estimate available at this time and the cause of the fire remains under investigation.
67-year-old Amish farmer Samuel Girod of Fillmore has been arrested and charged with felony predatory sexual assault of a child, punishable by up to 25 years in prison. He had been undergoing treatment at an Amish and Plain-sect sexual rehabilitation center after his arrest for molesting a child but now faces more serious charges. An investigation revealed Girod had subjected a child of 13 with sexual contact for many years. Girod was committed to Allegany County Jail but was released after posting $20,000 bail. The case has lingered there while Girod sought treatment at the Pennsylvania center. Troopers arrested him on the new charges when he showed up for a court date earlier this month. He was arraigned on the new charges but no additional bail was set and Girod was released. Girod’s arrest comes at a time when sex abuse among Plain-sect communities has become more openly discussed. Various investigations over the course of years has revealed sex abuse, incest in particular, is seldom reported and that men are rarely prosecuted. Many are allowed to attend treatment centers such as Whispering Hope, located in Newville, Pennsylvania, in return for lighter sentences. Whispering Hope opened in 2001 and is private, with no actual doctors or trained therapists.
State Attorney General Letitia James has wrapped up her latest visit to the region where she discussed the importance of people in the area having access to mental health care. James and other leaders gathered at the Buffalo and Erie County Public Library yesterday to hear from both health care workers and individuals who have lost family members who suffered from mental health issues. James said that the state’s entire mental health system is being examined and that the necessary changes will be made. If you or anyone else is having mental health issues, help is available by calling 716-834-3131.
The state’s Office of Fire Prevention and Control is beginning new outreach efforts to protect firefighters and their families from the threat of cancer. One goal of this initiative is to raise awareness among members of the fire service about how they can develop protocols for cancer prevention. Data shows firefighters are at a higher risk of getting cancer due to the toxins they are exposed to at the scene of emergencies. If their gear is not decontaminated properly, they might expose family members to harmful chemicals.
Officials at Rush-Henrietta High School say several students have been suspended following a recent fight on campus. The incident happened this past Friday and was started by a student in the district who attends an alternative school and wasn’t supposed to be in the building. There are now Monroe County Sheriff’s deputies posted at the school when students arrive and leave. And the district is looking into whether any policy changes need to be made to prevent something like this from happening again.
According to the latest report from the state, the spread COVID-19 is on the decline in our region. Currently, the seven-day average infection rate is sitting at 6.35%. At this time last week, the average infection rate was at 6.74%. While fewer people are testing positive for the illness, anyone who hasn’t been vaccinated against the virus is urged to get their shot to help prevent another spike in cases.
Gas prices keep climbing. According to Triple A today, the national average price for regular is $3.38 a gallon. That’s a penny higher than yesterday and 9 cents higher than a week ago. The state average is at $3.47. In Batavia, we’re paying $3.37; up 2 cents from yesterday but down two cents from a month ago.
Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott says Damar Hamlin has been visiting the team’s facility in Orchard Park on an almost daily basis. Hamlin is still recovering after going into cardiac arrest during a game between the Bills and Cincinnati Bengals earlier this month. McDermott says Hamlin has been focused on trying to get back into a routine so he can continue his road towards being himself again. There’s no word if Hamlin will be at the Bills’ home playoff game against the Bengals on Sunday.
The Buffalo Sabres are going to retire the number of goaltender Ryan Miller ahead of the team’s game against the New York Islanders tonight. A sold-out crowd is expected and fans who are going to the contest at KeyBank Center are urged to be in their seats before the ceremony starts at 6:00pm. Miller was a member of the Sabres for over a decade and is the franchise’s all-time leader in games played by a goaltender as well as wins and saves. Face-off for the game between the Sabres and Islanders is set for 7:30.