Valatie man arrested for sexual assault of a minor

VALATIE—State Police in conjunction with the Columbia County Child Advocacy Center arrested Ruben Martinez Cruz, 32, of Valatie for first degree criminal sexual act, a class B felony, April 22.

Subsequent to a tip, investigators from SP Livingston and the Columbia County Child Advocacy Center determined Mr. Martinez Cruz allegedly sexually assaulted a victim under the age of 11-years-old.

He was arraigned in Kinderhook Village Court and sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $100,000 cash bail or bond. He is next scheduled to appear before the court May 17.


Two drivers were taken to the hospital following a three vehicle collision involving a Chatham School District bus at the intersection of Route 203 and Novak Road, April 25 at 1:21 p.m.

A 2016 Chevy Equinox operated by Jessica Williams, 35, of Chatham was traveling west behind on Route 203, when she failed to observe the vehicle in front of her, also westbound, a 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander driven by Gabrielle Cidras, 26, of Valatie slowing down, according to State Police Public Information Officer Aaron Hicks.

The Williams vehicle hit the Cidras vehicle in the rear and pushed it into a 2020 Chevy Express school bus operated by Leya Jackson, 45, of Chatham. The school bus was also westbound on Route 203 and was slowing in traffic due to an uninvolved vehicle ahead turning on Novak Road.

The Valatie Rescue Squad took two drivers, Ms. Williams and Ms. Cidras to the Albany Medical Center.

State DOT was notified of the crash involving a school vehicle. No damage was listed on the bus. The bus had one passenger aboard. No injuries were reported to the passenger or the operator.

One person was ticketed, police did not say who.

Valatie firefighters were back in service at 2:29 p.m.


Volunteers from the Hudson Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross provided immediate emergency aid to three people after a structure fire caused major damage to their home at 105 West Street Extension, April 30 at 12:18 p.m.

Columbia County 911 initially summoned Niverville firefighters and the Valatie Rescue Squad. Subsequently Valatie, Kinderhook, Chatham, Stuyvesant, Nassau and Claverack firefighters were dispatched for mutual aid.

The Red Cross provided health services and financial assistance which can be used for necessities such as shelter, food, and clothing to two adults and one child aged 6. Volunteers also offered emotional support. In the coming days, Red Cross staff and volunteers will remain available to help those affected by the fire as they navigate the road to recovery.

Columbia County Fire Coordinators, the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office and State Police assisted on scene and National Grid was called in to cut the power.

Firefighters were back in service at 4:04 p.m.

To contact Diane Valden email

All in the family. Christopher Merante is the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office most recent corrections officer academy graduate, according to the Sheriff’s Office Facebook Page. He is a second generation corrections officer. He was congratulated by his father, Officer Thomas Merante, alongside Captain Patrick Delaney, Sheriff Donald Krapf and Undersheriff Jackie Salvatore. Photo contributed

Meet some safe boaters. The New York State Safe Boating Class was taught at the Philmont Community Center April 23 by instructors Douglas Cropper and Julie Veronezi. Safety equipment requirements and use of safety equipment, navigation and the marine environment were some of the topics covered in the class. Everyone who operates a motorized watercraft on the waters of New York State is required to have a Safe Boating Certificate or the equivalent by 2025. Successfully completing this year’s class were Kenneth Cavea, William Silta, William O’Connor, Richard Novak, Tom Myers, Sharon O’Connor, Lynn Lown, Julie Veronezi (instructor), Lauren Mabb, and Andrew Marrone. Absent from photo is Douglas Cropper (instructor.) Photo contributed

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