News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.

Police & Fire

Fleeing Suspect’s Head-On Collision with Deputy Likely Deliberate

Collision Likely

Deliberate, Press

Told At Briefing

Dead Man Followed Woman’s Car

From Cherry Valley To Richfield 

BCI Capt. Scott Heggelke, left, and Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. brief the press on Tuesday’s fatal collision this afternoon at the Oneonta State Police Barracks. (Ian Austin/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

Heggelke said Matthew All “died from multiple blunt trauma injuries” after his car collided with the sheriff’s department cruiser. (Jennifer Hill/

ONEONTA – The 23-year-old killed upon crashing his car head-on into Deputy Sheriff Jim Mateunas’ cruiser in Springfield Center Tuesday afternoon likely did it deliberately,  BCI Capt. Scott Heggelke, Troop C, said this afternoon at a joint press conference with Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr.

Matthew E. All had led state police on a high-speed chase, which ended at the intersection of 20 and 80 when his Buick LaCrosse collided with the sheriff’s 2017 Chevy Tacoma with Mateunas inside.  The impact was so great it sent the cruiser flying at least 200 feet.

All died of “multiple blunt force injuries,” Heggelke said, and both of Mateunas’ legs were broken from the crash.  That it was an SUV with four-wheel drive probably prevented more serious injuries, he said.

Sheriff Devlin said Mateunas is in stable condition at Bassett Hospital, resting comfortably, but “had a long road to recovery.”

To Save Victim’s Family From Ordeal Of A Trial, Truitt Offered Plea Deal

To Save Victim’s Family

From Ordeal Of A Trial,

Truitt Offered Plea Deal

Even So, Arson Suspect Faces 25 To Life

Gabe Truitt

COOPERSTOWN – In county court today, District Attorney John L. Muehl offered Gabriel Truitt, 33, a chance to plead guilty to one of two counts – second-degree murder – in the Dec. 29 arson death in Oneonta of former city firefighter John Heller.

“I offered that on the record,” said Muehl, “to try to save the (Heller) family from going through a trial.”

Truitt faces two count in the fatal Walling Avenue fire:  first-degree murder, which requires a sentence of life without parole, or the second-degree count, which would bring a sentence of 25 to life if Truitt were found guilty, the D.A. said.

Truitt will be back in court July 5, and Muehl said he expects the judge, Brian Burns, will want a decision from the accused at that time.

Fleeing Car Hit Deputy’s Cruiser In Westbound Lane


Fleeing Car Hit

Deputy’s Cruiser

In Westbound Lane

Ending a few minutes ago in the Oneonta State Police Barracks, BCI Capt. Scott Heggelke and county Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr. give particulars on Tuesday’s hot pursuit and fatal crash. (Ian Austin/

By JENNIFER HILL • Special to

ONEONTA – Sheriff’s Deputy Jim Mateunas was parked in the westbound lane of  Route 20 in his Chevy Tacoma with his emergency lights flashing when Matthew All, fleeing state police in hot pursuit, plowed into the deputy’s cruiser at 2:45 p.m. Tuesday at 115 mph, according to a just-completed press briefing at the Oneonta State Police Barracks.

Earlier reports had the cruiser on the side of the highway.  There was no evidence All braked or tried to avoid the collision, County Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. and Capt. Scott Hegelke of Troop C’s BCI unit said during the briefing.

The impact of All’s Buick LaCrosse pushed Mateunas’ SUV 200 feet, the equivalent of twice the length of the Oneonta barracks building on Oneida Street.

The autopsy showed All, 23, of Sharon Springs, was not intoxicated.  The briefing revealed All and Robin Church, the woman he was arguing with in front of the Richfield Springs State Police Barracks before the chase ensued, had been co-workers at some point, and he had been “harassing” her for a year.


Tan Van Sought After Cooperstown Hit, Run

Tan Van Sought After

Cooperstown Hit, Run

Bystanders said a tan van was being sought after a collision at 6 p.m. this evening at the intersection of Susquehanna and Beaver in front of Bassett Hall. The driver of the maroon Ford, in photo, that was hit broadside by the van was inside the Cooperstown EMT ambulance being checked, but his parents, standing outside, said he seemed to be uninjured. They said both drivers were trying to signal each other to take the right-of-way at the four-way stop; the Ford then moved into the intersection, but so did the van, driving by a female, which struck the Ford, denting the passenger side and setting off the front and back seat airbags.  Behind the car, Cooperstown Fire Chief Jim Tallman confers with fire and police officials at the scene.  (Jim Kevlin/
Police: Driver Killed In Crash Was Sharon Springs Man, 23

Police: Driver Killed In Crash

Was Sharon Springs Man, 23

Deputy Mateunas’ cruiser ended up in the middle of Route 20. All’s car is at left. (Jennifer Hill/

The driver who died in Tuesday afternoon’s crash when his car collided head-on with a Sheriff’s Department cruiser was Matthew All, 23, of Sharon Springs, according to Troop C spokesman Aga Dembinska.

Dembinska said All threatened a woman, Robin Church, with a knife outside the Richfield Springs Barracks, the episode that triggered the chase that ended in the crash at Kelley’s Corners, Route 20 and 80, in Springfield Center.

Deputy Jim Mateunas, who was in the cruiser, broke both legs.





AT RTES. 20, 80

A driver’s body was removed from this crumpled red Buick Lacrosse in today’s 2:45 p.m. fatal crash that also sent Sheriff’s Deputy James Mateunas to a Bassett Hospital operating room.  The driver’s identity has not yet been released, but an eyewitness said he saw the driver in a altercation with a woman, Robin Church, at the State Police barracks in Richfield Springs.  The driver fled the barracks with troopers in pursuit, and deputies joined the chase, which ended when the fleeing car collided head-on with Mateunas’ cruiser at the junction of Routes 20 and 80, Kelly’s Corners, at the north end of Springfield Center.  Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. is at the scene at this hour, and details will be reported as they become available.  (Jennifer Hill/
Sheriff’s Deputy Injured In Springfield Crash

Sheriff’s Deputy Injured

In Springfield Crash

Deputy James Mateunas

SPRINGFIELD – A Sheriff’s Deputy is in surgery following a two-car crash at the intersection of Route 80 and Route 20 in Springfield at around 3 p.m. this afternoon.

“Deputy James Mateunas sustained multiple fractures to his legs and is in surgery,” said Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr. “His patrol vehicle was hit head-on.”

Goodyear Lake Trailer Charred


Goodyear Lake

Trailer Charred

A trailer home was heavily was destroyed, in a fire that broke out around 5:45pm at 920 Shady Acres, the mobile home park in Silliman Cove, Goodyear Lake. Above, Crews were on the scene within 7 minutes of the 911 call coming it. At right, Cooperstown firefighters Joel Bostwick and Billy Smith pry off roofing searching for straggling flames.The officer in charge, Milford Fire Chief Don Eckler, said “The fire was rolling out of the trailer pretty well when we arrived.” with he arrived with the first engine. With three hoses, Porta-Ponds and tanker relays, the fire was extinguished fairly quickly, he said. No one was in the home at the time the fire started, and only one injury was reported: a firefighter cut his hand trying to get inside. Eckler said the home belonged to an elderly couple who had left around 12:30pm. He didn’t know the name of the residents. Firemen from Oneonta, Cooperstown, Hartwick, Hartwick Seminary, Schenevus and Mount Vision helped their Milford colleagues, with Fly Creek and Davenport crews on standby. The home was deemed uninhabitable and The Red Cross was notified and will be providing assistance. (Ian Austin/

At Oneonta’s 2 Colleges, Fewer Rapes Than Most


At Oneonta’s 2 Colleges,

Fewer Rapes Than Most

ONEONTA – A new U.S. Department of Education report on rapes and “fondling” cases among the 45 Upstate colleges puts both SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College in the bottom third.

SUNY Oneonta tied for 30th, with four rapes reported in 2017 and two in 2016, and one fondling each year.

Hartwick College tied for 36th with three rapes reports each year, and two fondlings in 2017 and one in 2016.

GoFundMe Started To Help Family In Pittsfield Fire

GoFundMe Started To Help

Family After Pittsfield Fire

Richard Miller and children Brandon, Hunter and Izabella, surrounding mom Shannon, who succumbed to cancer in February. The family home was destroyed by fire Tuesday.

PITTSFIELD – A GoFundMe campaign has been started for father Richard Miller and his three children, who lost their Pittsfield home in a Tuesday morning fire.

“My uncle would never ask for anything from anyone, he would give the shirt off his back to help someone,” said Miller’s niece, Martina Markle, who put together the crowd-funding page. “His kids were the same way, always helping around the house with a smile on their face.

“Unfortunately they just lost everything in a house fire –  and I mean everything.”

Early-Morning Fire Destroys New Berlin Home


Father, 3 Children

Flee Pittsfield Home

In Early-Morning Fire

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Richard Miller was able to get his three children out of their house at 1487 County Highway 13 in the Town of Pittsfield when they heard smoke alarms go off.

PITTSFIELD – A widower and his three children were left homeless after a blaze destroyed their New Berlin home overnight.

According to Pittsfield Fire Chief Dale Ives, Richard Miller called Otsego County 911 at 1:30 a.m. to report that his home at 1485 County Highway 13 was on fire. “The smoke detectors woke them up,” said Ives. “When we arrived on scene, he told us everyone was out of the house.”

Miller, a widower, lived in the house with his three children, Brandon, 13, Hunter, 10, and Izabella, 7. His wife, Sharron, died in February after a two-year battle with cancer.

Two Pigs Seized From Pittsfield Farm

Neglected Pigs Seized

From Pittsfield Farm

Stacie Haynes, executive director, Susquehanna SPCA, feeds the two five month old pigs seized last night from a farm in Pittsfield. According to Sheriff Richard J. Devlin Jr., a neighbor heard noises coming from a barn on County Highway 18 in Pittsfield and, upon inspection, found two dead pigs. Further inspection located the two living pigs without food, hay or water, and the neighbors reported it to the Sheriff’s Department. The investigation into animal cruelty is ongoing. (Jennifer Hill/AllOTSEGO,com)
Muehl: Decatur Twins Died Of Asphyxiation





By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to


DECATUR – Kimberly Steeley’s infant twins, Bonde and Liam, both died from asphyxiation, according to District Attorney John Muehl.

“At first, everyone thought Bonde died of SIDS,” said Muehl. “Then 11 days later, Liam died of the same condition.”

Steeley, 27, Decatur, was indicted on two counts of second-degree manslaughter, one for each child, for recklessly causing the death of her children last June. The twins, born May 15, were barely a month old at the time of their deaths.

Worcester Mother Arrested In Twins’ Deaths


Mother Arrested

In Twin’s Deaths

A Town of Worcester woman, Kimberly N. Steeley, 27, Decatur, was arrested Wednesday, May 8, accused in the death of her twin infant children, Liam and Bonde Steeley, it was announced this morning.

County Sheriff Richard J. Devlin, Jr., District Attorney John M. Muehl and state police announced the two-count  Grand Jury Sealed Indictment.  She was charged with two counts of manslaughter, second degree, a class C felony, for recklessly causing the death of another.

Kimberly Steeley was arraigned on Wednesday and remanded to the Otsego County Jail on $10,000 cash bail or $100,000 bond. A preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 3.

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