ATV crash claims life of Kinderhook man

CHATHAM—State Police from the New Lebanon barracks investigated a fatal motor vehicle crash on 433 Bushnell Road in the Town of Chatham, July 27.

At 7:50 p.m., troopers were dispatched to Bushnell Road for an all-terrain-vehicle crash. An initial investigation shows Brandon S. Pitcher, 27, of Kinderhook was operating an ATV on Bushnell Road, when he failed to negotiate a turn.

Mr. Pitcher struck a tree, and was not wearing a helmet. He was pronounced deceased at the scene.

Mr. Pitcher was a racing enthusiast, who participated at Lebanon Valley Speedway. He was the father of one child, with another on the way. Mr. Pitcher’s obituary appears on page 29 of this issue.

Chatham Rescue, Chatham firefighters, Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and the Columbia County Coroner Michael Blasl all responded on scene to render aid.

Firefighters were clear from the scene at 8:49 p.m.


City Police arrested Sandy K. Samuels, 58, of Catskill on three counts of second degree criminal possession of a weapon, a class C felony; second degree criminal use of a firearm, a class C felony, and fourth degree criminal possession of stolen property, a class E felony, Saturday, July 13.

Saturday morning at about 2:30 a.m., Hudson Police received a Columbia County 911 call reporting that a man had a gun in the area of North Sixth Street.

The man had allegedly pointed the gun at another person.

HPD arrived quickly, interviewed the victim and detained the perpetrator, identified as Mr. Samuels. Detectives responded to the scene for further processing and evidence collection. During their investigation three illegal handguns, ammunition, a gun holster and more than $3,200 were recovered and seized by HPD. All of the weapons were loaded. One of the handguns was reported stolen, another was reported missing/lost, and the origin of the third gun is still under investigation.

Mr. Samuels was arraigned in Hudson Court before Judge John Connor and was sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $7,500 cash or $20,000 bond. He is due back in court at a later date.

Hudson Police were assisted by the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office, and the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.

*Hudson Police received a Columbia County 911 call reporting a “fight in progress” in the area of North Second and Columbia streets, Monday, July 15 at 7:42 p.m.

HPD patrols responded to the scene where witnesses reported that they saw two men having a verbal argument in the street, which turned physical. Initial reports indicate that no weapons were used. One of the subjects, who appears to have been the victim, was seriously injured and taken to Columbia Memorial Hospital by the Greenport Rescue Squad. The second subject left the area prior to police arrival.

The victim was later taken by ambulance to Albany Medical Center for additional medical treatment. Police were told that his injuries are non-life threatening.

The Hudson Police Department is currently investigating this incident with the assistance of the Columbia County DA Paul Czajka.

A video of the incident was captured by a citizen and turned over to police, who have identified both the victim and the suspect.

On Tuesday, July 16 at 5:39 p.m., Hudson Police located and arrested Lance Fongemie, 35, of Hudson for second degree assault, a class D Felony.

Mr. Fongemie was arraigned in City Court before Judge Brian Herman and sent to jail in lieu of $1,000 cash bail. He is to return to court at a later date.

The police continue to investigate whether the incident is bias related.

Anyone with further information is asked to contact detectives at 518-828-3388.


A Stockport man has been arrested for making terroristic threats against members of the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office, according to a press release from Columbia County Sheriff David P. Bartlett.

Jeffrey A. Yeh, 52, of County Route 25, Stockport was charged with making a terroristic threat, a class D felony, and resisting arrest, a class A misdemeanor, by deputies and criminal investigators, July 19 at 9 p.m.

The Sheriff’s Office initiated an investigation after they were alerted earlier that date that Mr. Yeh had posted videos on a social media site in which threats of violence were made against members of the Sheriff’s Office.

Sheriff’s Office investigators with assistance from

Columbia County District Attorney Paul Czajka, secured two separate search warrants for the purpose of collecting electronic evidence used in the crime. In addition, an arrest warrant was also issued for Mr. Yeh at that time. Columbia County Court Judge Richard Koweek signed the warrants, which were served at 282 County Route 25, as well as at 59 County Route 25 in Stockport.

Taken into custody during the execution of the warrant, Mr. Yeh allegedly resisted arrest—leading to the additional charge. During the arrest of Mr. Yeh, another man who was in the house, allegedly interfered with authorities while they were making the arrest.

David Fitting, 62, of 20 State Route 9J, Stockport was charged with obstructing governmental administration, a class A misdemeanor. He was issued an appearance ticket returnable in Stockport Court at a later date.

Mr. Yeh was previously charged June 6 on a 14-count Grand Jury indictment which alleged that he and his mother, Annette Loos, 75, also of Stockport, had worked together to commit numerous crimes related to endangering the welfare of and stealing from an incompetent or disabled person.

Mr. Yeh was arraigned before Justice Michael Rosen in Chatham Town Court and sent to the Columbia County Jail without bail. A preliminary hearing is scheduled in Chatham Town Court at a later date.


Elmanuel Casiano, 55, of Kinderhook was charged with three counts of third degree burglary, a class D felony; one count of fifth degree criminal possession of stolen property; two counts of petit larceny, fourth degree criminal mischief, and two counts of seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, all class A misdemeanors, by State Police from the Livingston and Kinderhook barracks, July 13.

An investigation found that Mr. Casiano was allegedly responsible for the overnight burglaries of the Salvation Army in Greenport, July 9; the Columbia Diner in Kinderhook, July 12 and the Salvation Army again July 12. About $134 was stolen from the Salvation Army and an undisclosed amount of cash along with the safe during the second burglary. The Columbia Diner reported about $300 stolen.

Mr. Casiano was located with a small amount of crack-cocaine in his possession in Hudson.

He was arraigned in Greenport Court and sent to the Columbia County Jail without bail. He is scheduled to appear in court at a later date.


Kareem Blocker, 42, of Hudson was charged on a warrant for first degree criminal contempt, a class E felony, and second degree aggravated harassment, a class A misdemeanor, by Deputies Kelly Rosenstrach and Philipp Gomm, July 1 at 11:40 a.m.

Mr. Blocker is accused of making repeated phone calls to a protected person violating an order of protection. He was arraigned in Claverack Court and was sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $750 bail or $1,500 bond. He will return to court at a later date.


Crystal Bell, 25, of Hudson was charged with second degree criminal contempt, a class A misdemeanor, by Deputies Ted Blank and Jerald Rowell, June 26 at 12:13 a.m.

Ms. Bell is accused of violating an order of protection. She was arraigned in Philmont Village Court and was released on her own recognizance. She is scheduled to return to court at a later date.

To contact Diane Valden email

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