Engine explodes, injuring man working on racecar

WEST LEBANON—A Connecticut man was suffered burns and other severe injuries when the car engine he was working on blew up at the Lebanon Valley Speedway, Sunday, August 17 at 1 p.m.

State Police were called to the speedway at 1746 U.S. Route 20, for a reported engine explosion.

Their investigation revealed that Jose Santana, 34, of East Hartford, CT, was working on a 1985 Mazda RX7 while the engine was running in a parking area away from the track. The car was to be entered in a race later in the day. For unknown reason, the engine exploded causing severe injuries to Mr. Santana’s right eye and right arm. He was additionally burned on his upper extremities.

He was conscious and airlifted to Albany Medical Center by Life Net. Chatham Rescue, Valatie Rescue and Lebanon Valley Fire Department all assisted at the scene.


Columbia County 911 dispatched State Police from Livingston to assist the Germantown Fire Department with a reported oil spill in the area of the Germantown Boat Launch, August 17 at 4:50 p.m.

A boater saw a 50-foot flexible “transfer pipe” floating in the Hudson River with some type of unknown oil in close proximity.

A State Police helicopter was called in to help the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) assess the range of impact of the oil spill. Contamination appeared limited to about 300 feet along the shoreline in the vicinity of the boat launch.

The DEC said in a statement released August 18 that the unattached, black pipe containing oil was found in the Hudson River and was secured in the dock area.  DEC officials estimated that 50 to 100 gallons of No. 6 fuel oil had spilled from the pipe. Winds had pushed the spilled oil to the east shore and it was contained in a small area. Visual inspections using a State Police helicopter did not find any other visible sheens in the river.

A spill response contractor was on scene Sunday night to collect the oil. The contractor was back at the scene Monday to complete the cleanup of impacted surfaces and shorelines. An investigation to determine the source of the oil is underway. People who have information about this spill should contact The DEC tip line at 1-800-847-7332.

Additional responding agencies included the Columbia and Dutchess county sheriff’s offices, Livingston Fire Department, Columbia County Emergency Management and Hazardous Material Response Teams, Columbia County Fire Coordinators, the state Office of Emergency Management and the U.S. Coast Guard. The investigation is continuing and the state DEC is the lead agency.


Sheriff’s deputies were dispatched by Columbia County 911 for a truck versus bicycle accident on Fairview Avenue, at the intersection with Joslen Boulevard, August 11 at 3:40 p.m., according to a press release from Sheriff David P. Bartlett.

Deputies found that a 2002 Toyota pickup truck, operated by Fred Reinhold, 66, of Hudson was driving through the intersection from the Fairview Plaza to Joslen Boulevard, when it struck a bicyclist who ran a red light while traveling north on Fairview Avenue.

The bicyclist, James Rivenburgh, 31, of Germantown, sustained a broken right leg and was taken to Columbia Memorial Hospital by the Greenport Rescue Squad.

Deputy Scott Leggett is continuing with the investigation and he was assisted at the scene by Lieutenant Wayne Lopez.

Also assisting at the scene were Greenport Rescue Squad, Greenport Fire Company and State Police.


An anonymous 911 caller told Hudson Police there was an injured man bleeding from the back of the head in the area of 201 Warren Street, Friday, August 15 at 7:20 p.m. At the scene, police found evidence to support that a dispute took place during which injuries were caused to the victim. Chief L. Edward Moore said two men were involved in a confrontation on the corner of Second and Warren streets.

Police found the 57-year-old victim at Columbia Memorial Hospital undergoing treatment for non-life threatening injuries. The investigation is continuing and the chief said, “I fully expect arrests in this matter.”

*Six teenage girls from Hudson were charged by City Police in connection with possessing a stolen car, August 13.

Hudson Police received a complaint about of a stolen vehicle, August 13 at 2:20 p.m. The white 1995 Ford Taurus with Pennsylvania plates was stolen from a parking lot in Strawberry Alley. The complainant is a Hudson resident, but the car is registered to her mother in Pennsylvania. The key was stuck in the ignition and the owner was unable to remove it. The car disappeared sometime between 7 p.m. August 12 and 2 p.m. August 13, according to a press release.

Detective Sergeant John Funk was on patrol August 13 at about 4:25 p.m. when he saw a Ford Taurus traveling near Oakwood Boulevard. The car had New York plates, but appeared to have out-of-state stickers in window. It also appeared to have been spray-painted black “in a very shoddy manner,” police said in the release.

A little while later, Officers James Nero and Larry Edleman saw the vehicle exiting the Oakdale Lake parking lot. They followed and pulled it over on North Sixth Street.

The license plates on the car were registered to appear on a 2003 Jeep, and had been reported stolen from a Hudson resident sometime between the evening of August 12 and the morning of August 13.

The vehicle was occupied by six females, all Hudson residents: three 15-year-olds, one 16-year-old, one 17-year-old and one 18-year-old. A can of black spray paint was recovered from the vehicle.

The 18, 17 and 16-year-olds were charged as adults with third degree criminal mischief, an E felony; fourth degree criminal possession of stolen property, a motor vehicle—E felony, switched license plates and unlicensed operation. They were arraigned in Hudson City Court, August 14.

Bail was set for two of the suspects at $250 cash or $1,000 bond and the other suspect’s bail was set at $500 cash or $1,000 bond. They were jailed.

Two of the juveniles were currently subjects of Person In Need of Supervision (PINS) petitions, and were transferred to a youth facility in Middletown. The remaining juvenile will appear in Family Court, the release said.

Gooley, out of the hospital, sent back to jail


CLAVERACK—James Gooley, a/k/a James Murray, a/k/a James Gooley Murray, 70, of Valatie arrived via ambulette for an appearance in Columbia County Court, the morning of Monday, August 18.

Mr. Gooley, who was convicted of one count of first degree sexual abuse by a jury August 12, was released from the Albany Medical Center where he was being treated injuries he sustained from drinking anti-freeze spiked coffee and crashing his car, both on purpose, early the morning of August 8.

As a result of the incident, Mr. Gooley did not show up in county court that morning when summations and the charging of the jury was scheduled to take place.

Presiding County Judge Richard Koweek issued an arrest warrant for Mr. Gooley when he failed to appear. The judge conducted a hearing on the issue of Mr. Gooley’s absence August 11 and ruled that proceedings should go forward without him.

Mr. Gooley was convicted August 12 in absentia of sexually abusing a seven-year-old boy.

During his August 18 appearance, Judge Koweek ordered the wheelchair-bound Mr. Gooley back to the Columbia County Jail without bail until his sentencing which is expected to take place August 22.

Pendell sentenced to 92 years

CLAVERACK—Columbia County Judge Richard M. Koweek sentenced Perry Pendell, 48, to 92 years in state prison August 19, according to a press release from District Attorney Paul Czajka.

Mr. Pendell was convicted by a Columbia County jury, June 19 of one count of criminal solicitation (to

murder); nine counts of second degree rape; one count of second degree criminal sexual act and four counts of possessing a sexual performance by a child.

DA Czajka prosecuted the defendant and Mark Zuckerburg, Esq. represented the defendant.

In the release, District Attorney Czajka referred to this investigation, conducted under the direction of then Sheriff David W. Harrison, and then captain, now Sheriff David P. Bartlett, as one of the most extensive and comprehensive in Columbia County in many years. He commended the work of all sheriff’s investigators and deputies and Investigator Mark Dunspaugh in particular. The DA reserved his highest praise for the victim saying,

“[Mr.] Pendell, of Chestertown, New York, sexually assaulted a young child over several weeks in 2012. Once apprehended, he plotted to have his victim murdered. In spite of these assaults, and with knowledge of the murder plot, the child bravely took the witness stand, where she was subjected to a withering cross-examination. Her courage guarantees that this predator will never assault another child.”





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