News of Otsego County

Oneonta Police

Lettis Highway Accident Victim Identified

Lettis Highway Accident

Victim Identified, In ICU

ONEONTA – Oneonta Police have identified the woman struck by a car last night on the Lettis Highway as April Johnson, 32, Oneonta.

Johnson allegedly crossed the highway in an area not marked for pedestrians and was struck by a car driven by David Shafer, 41, Otsego. She was taken by ambulance to Fox Hospital and transferred to Albany Medical Center, where she was admitted to the intensive care unit.

Oneonta Woman In Critical Condition After Being Struck By Car

Oneonta Woman

In Critical Condition

After Lettis Accident

Oneonta Police and Fire responded to the scene at Lettis Highway, where an Oneonta woman was critically injured after being struck by a car. (James Cummings/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – An Oneonta woman is in critical condition at Fox Hospital after she was struck by a car on the Lettis Highway earlier this evening.

According to Police Chief Doug Brenner, an Oneonta woman was walking with a friend when she allegedly crossed the James F. Lettis Highway approximately 100 yards from the intersection of Main Street.

“The area is not marked for pedestrians and it is dimly lit,” said Brenner.


Exit 15 Ramp Closed After Accident



By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – Police are on the scene of a motor vehicle accident on the James F. Lettis Highway after a pedestrian was allegedly hit by a car this evening.

According to Rob O’Brien, Otsego Count 911 director, a pedestrian was struck by a vehicle near the I-88 Exit 15 westbound off-ramp at 7:42 p.m. The pedestrian was transported to Fox Hospital with serious injuries.

The ramp and Lettis Highway have been closed, and police are asking that the public avoid the area. The accident is under investigation.

Police, Fire Rescue Woman From Mill Race Waters

Police, Fire Rescue Woman

From Frigid Mill Race Waters

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – Oneonta police officers and firefighters rushed to the spillway between the Oneonta Creek and Neahwa Park last evening to rescue a woman who had gone into the water in an alleged suicide attempt, OPD Lt. Christopher Witzenburg reports.

The woman, 34, was reported missing by family members who told police she had threatened self-harm. She allegedly told her family that she was under a bridge by some water, and Officer Kristen Lapointe spotted her behind the Post Office, headed south towards the railroad tracks.

When Lapointe attempted to make contact with her, the woman went into the creek at the Neahwa Park spillway.




With 53 violations, including serving underage and failing to supervise patrons, the state Liquor Authority has suspended the liquor license of the Sip & Sail Tavern, effective immediately. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

A list of all 53 violations was taped to the bar’s door by SLA enforcement officers early this afternoon.

ONEONTA – With 53 violations, including selling alcohol to minors, employing unlicensed bouncers and failing to supervise patrons, the state Liquor Authority has suspended the liquor license of the Sip & Sail Tavern, effective immediately, following a Friday night raid where police seized more than 140 fake IDs.

“This licensee has displayed a disturbing indifference to the law by pursuing a business plan seemingly based on catering to minors,” said SLA Chairman Vincent Bradley. “The SLA will continue to take immediate action against bar owners who fail to take basic measures to ensure their patrons are of legal age, including checking IDs, training employees and obtaining scanners to spot fakes.” However, it has been stated that it could be getting harder for employees to spot fakes, as the likes of fake ID creators are ensuring that their new ID’s look as real as possible. It’s also becoming easier for underage customers to acquire fake identities, with many underage drinkers realizing they can often buy a fake id online that can pass as the real deal.

Suspect Beats Up 2 Women Officers

Suspect Beats Up

2 Women Officers

Oneonta Man Charged With Assault

Cameras in the Oneonta Police Station caught footage of Zachary Kaplan, left, allegedly attacking Officer Amanda Catapano after he allegedly slipped out of his handcuffs following his arrest for an alleged domestic incident.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – A man arrested during a domestic dispute then slipped his handcuffs and attacked two female police officers inside the Oneonta Police Station, Police Chief Doug Brenner reported today.

Zachary M. Kaplan, 29, was arrested by Officers Kristen LaPointe and Amanda Catapano following a call that he was violating an order of protection, said Brenner. “He gave them no problems at the scene, put his hands behind his back and got in the patrol car,” the chief said.

Oneonta Man Charged With Endangerment, Traffic Violations

In ‘Extreme Pain,’

Driver At Bassett

After Viaduct Crash

Stilson Faces Felonies, OPD Reports

Shawn N. Stilson escaped with minor injuries after his Ford Escape went through the viaduct fence and and crashed onto the railroad tracks below. (Photo Courtesy of OPD)

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Police and fire crews were dispatched the the railroad tracks, where they found Stilson’s car.

ONEONTA – “In extreme pain,” Shawn N. Stilson, 27, Oneonta, walked into the police station at 5:30 a.m. Saturday morning, bleeding from multiple cuts and complaining of pain, according to Oneonta Police Chief Doug Brenner.

“He told police he had crashed his car and been ejected,” said Brenner.

Officers investigated and found Stilson’s car had broken through the fence at the Main Street viaduct and crashed onto the railroad tracks below.

According to Brenner, Stilson told police he was fleeing a domestic disturbance when he drove his Ford Escape the wrong way down one-way Fairview Street, across Main Street and through the fence.  The car was heavily damaged and Stilson was transported to Bassett Hospital after he complained of “extreme pain.”

Police Investigating ‘Rash’ Of Main Street Burglaries


‘Ring Doorbell’ Camera May

Help Solve Break-In Rash

ONEONTA – Oneonta Police are hoping new “Ring Doorbell” cameras will help determine who is responsible for a series of break-ins in Center City and Main Street this past week.

“Someone in Center City had one of those ‘Ring Doorbells,’ and they got some footage of someone breaking into a car,” said Oneonta Police Chief Doug Brenner. “But the footage isn’t very clear, so we’re asking people to check if they have any video from the early morning hours.”

Police Investigating Thrift Store Robbery


OPD Investigating

Thrift Store Robbery

Volunteers at the Super Heroes in Ripped Jeans thrift store came in on Monday to find the store ransacked.

ONEONTA – Oneonta Police are investigating a burglary at the Superheroes in Ripped Jeans thrift store on South Main Street after the owners discovered on Monday morning the store had been broken into overnight. The store has low security so police have encouraged other business owners to ensure that they think about their businesses security and what they can do to improve it. For example, installing Verisure Smart Alarms is a sophisticated way to ensure your businesses protection. Other methods include getting security doors and shutters over your windows.

“We are truly disheartened to share that our thrift shop was burglarized over the weekend,” read a post on the store’s Facebook page. “This store is completely volunteer run and all the proceeds benefit the rescue. Not only did we sustain a loss, now we need to spend money on new equipment.”

Police Arrest Flasher In Neahwa Park

Flasher Arrested

In Neahwa Park

ONEONTA – Police arrested a Laurens man Monday afternoon after complaints that he was exposing himself in Neahwa Park.

Keith Holbrook, 71, Laurens, was arrested after Oneonta Police received complaints from the area of the park near the I-88 overpass. “Someone called and said they felt like he was watching them,” said Police Chief Doug Brenner. “Then he stepped out and exposed himself.”

SUNY Student Identified As Nicolas J. Stagnitta

SUNY Oneonta Student

From L.I., Police Report

ONEONTA – Oneonta Police have identified Nicholas J. Stagnitta, 20, of Patchogue, Long Island, as the SUNY student found deceased in a home on Chestnut Street on Saturday morning, according to a press release issued by the police a few minutes ago.

According to Police Chief Doug Brenner, police responded to the Chestnut Street residence at 11:10 a.m. Saturday morning. Upon arrival, police discovered Stagnitta deceased. The initial investigation and autopsy revealed that the young man took his own life.

Truitt Located In House Next To Police Department

Truitt In Basement

Of House Next Door

To OPD Headquarters

Suspect Spirited To Otsego County Jail

Accused arsonist Gabriel Truitt was found hiding the basement of 95 Main St., right next door to the city’s Public Safety building. (Ian Austin/

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Gabriel Truitt

ONEONTA – Less than a week since a grand jury indicted Gabriel Truitt, 33, on first-degree murder, one count of first-degree arson, and two counts of second-degree murder in the Dec. 29 death of John Heller, 38, Oneonta Police have arrested him at 95 Main St.

The two-story apartment house is right next door to the Public Safety Building, police headquarters.

Oxford Man Charged With Stealing Guitars, TV

Police: Man Breaks Into

City Home, Takes Guitars


ONEONTA – An Oxford man was charged with breaking into a Chestnut Street home and stealing two guitars and a television after he allegedly tried to sell them at a music store in Norwich. Nobody wants to have their instruments stolen, especially if they are looking to sell them for a healthy profit. You can actually price your musical instrument at a reliable pawn shop if you are looking to sell your guitars or other instruments for good money. h
ad tried to sell them a guitar matching the “distinct characteristics” of the stolen property.

The investigation identified Begeal, who was charged with Burglary in the second degree (residence) and Grand Larceny in the fourth degree, a felony. Because some of the items were allegedly damaged, he was also charged with Criminal mischief and criminal possession of stolen property in the fifth degree, both misdemeanors.

Oneonta Police Officer Injured During Suspect Chase

Police Officer Injured

During Suspect Chase


ONEONTA – An Oneonta Police officer was injured after the suspect fled over a fence and down an embankment, according to Police Chief Doug Brenner.

Wanted on a failure to appear and criminal contempt charges, Christopher Youngs Jr. 19, Town of Maryland, was allegedly seen at a house at 31 Fairview St. When officers tried to arrest Youngs on the outstanding warrants, he allegedly jumped out of the second story window of the house and fled.

“He went over a fence and fell down the steep embankment,” said Brenner. “He got up and tried to hide, but officers caught up with him.”

Oneonta Police Host Active Shooter Education At Fox

Oneonta Police To Train Public

On Dealing With ‘Active Shooter’

ONEONTA – The Oneonta Police Department this week will host two interactive, discussion-based community-education sessions on what to do in the event of an active shooter in a public place.

The first session will be 11 a.m-1 p.m. Tuesday, Jan. 22, and the second 3-5 p.m. Wednesday, Jan. 23. Both will be in Classroom 1 at the Foxcare Center. Both programs are free and open to the public.

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