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.”
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.
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.
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.
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/AllOTSEGO.com)
“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.”
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.
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.
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.