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





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.

Recalling 1989 Murder, Senator Unveils GOP’s Victim’s Justice Agenda

Recalling 1989 Murder,

Senator Unveils GOP’s

Victim’s Justice Agenda

Jill Gibbons’ Death Inspired Package

Jill Gibbons

ALBANY – State Sen. Jim Seward, R-Milford, today joined members of the Senate Republican Conference to unveil the “Victims’ Justice Agenda.” 

The package of bills would reform the parole system to keep violent criminals behind bars without parole and ease the parole process for suffering victims, families and the public.

 “To understand how this law would work you need to look no further than the murder of 18-year-old Gillian ‘Jill’ Gibbons in 1989 in Oneonta,” said Seward. “The convicted killer David Dart has had three parole hearing since 2014 and will be eligible for another next year.

2-Vehicle Crash Slows Cooperstown Rush Hour

2-Vehicle Crash Slows

Cooperstown Rush Hour

A collision between a pickup truck and a car at Railroad Avenue and Route 28 in Cooperstown 20 minutes ago slowed northbound rush-hour traffic. State police were at the scene, directing traffic, but the drivers were talking to each other and neither appeared to be injured. The car in the collision, inset, limped away from the scene, leaking gasoline, and parked in a nearby parking lot at 21 Railroad.  No further details were immediately available.  (Jim Kevlin/

Gasoline Spills From Tanker At Mirabito, Staff Contains It


Gasoline Spills From Tanker

At Mirabito, Staff Contains It

Cooperstown firefighters monitor at Mirabito’s in Cooperstown Saturday at staff mops up spills gasoline. (Bill Waller for

COOPERSTOWN –  County Hazmat teams, the DEC and Cooperstown Fire Department were called to Cooperstown’s Mirabito station at Chestnut and West Broad at 11:10 a.m. yesterday after a tanker overfilled the gas well, causing a large spill.

According to Mayor Ellen Tillapaugh, employees the gas station quickly contained the spill using bumpers, and the gasoline did not get into storm or wastewater drains.

“There was no need for an evacuation,” she said. “It was handled by the business, who was responsible for calling it in.”

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