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No charges for officer whose SUV struck wall

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BY: By Barbara O'Brien

Evans, New York - Updated: August 12, 2012, 8:15 AM

An off-duty Hamburg police lieutenant will face no charges for an early morning motor vehicle crash last month that damaged a wall outside a Lake Shore Road estate in Evans.

Nicholas F. Ugale, 44, suffered a broken nose when he lost control of his sport utility vehicle on Lake Shore Road and struck a cement wall at about 1 a.m. July 12. A large section of the white wall, which is about 5 feet high, was knocked down and the vehicle traveled the length of the wall, coming to rest after hitting a small fence, according to the police report. The wall was later vandalized.

The Evans Police Department released information about the crash to The Buffalo News only after The News filed a Freedom of Information request with the department.

The investigation is closed, Evans Police Chief Ernest P. Masullo said Friday.

According to the report, the car was headed east when the driver failed to navigate a curve in the road, Masullo said. The winding road at that section has been the location of a number of accidents over the years, he said.

"Historically, it's the S curves. Going back into the '40s, '50s, '60s, there's always accidents there," he said. "That's usually what happens at the S curves, people think they can handle it and can't."

Masullo said the Hamburg Police Department assisted Evans Police with reconstructing the accident.

The contributing factors to the accident were failure to keep right and unsafe speed, according to the report. The car was checked for mechanical failure, and nothing was found, the chief said. He said there was no screening for blood-alcohol content.

"I don't believe there was any reason to do that," he said, adding that there were no indications that alcohol was involved.

But someone in the area apparently felt differently. Some time after the accident, a vandal wrote a note with black spray paint on the wall, which is private property, about a "DWI Cop" not obeying the law. It was painted over by town personnel on Masullo's directive. He said it is unfair to single out an off-duty officer with unfounded charges.

"We painted it over. We had some people in the area that were upset," he said, calling the graffiti "nonsense" and "uncalled for."


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Posted on 8/12/2012 8:23 AM | CGB

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