Two students die in head-on car crash in Ghent

GHENT—Two college students from Brooklyn were killed and a third was seriously hurt in a two-vehicle crash on State Route 9H, Friday, November 18. All three were headed home for the Thanksgiving holiday.

While on routine patrol, Deputy Ryen Boehme came upon the crash on Route 9H in the vicinity of the Columbia County Airport, Friday at 6:32 p.m. Deputy Boehme immediately contacted Columbia County 911 and requested fire and rescue personnel to the scene, according to a press release from Columbia County Sheriff Donald Krapf.

The crash appears to have been a head-on collision between two vehicles, with one of the vehicles fully-involved in fire. With the assistance of an uninvolved motorist, who stopped at the scene to help, the operator of the vehicle that was on fire, Michael Shepherd, 19, was removed from the car. Unfortunately two additional occupants of that vehicle, Boburmirzo Sharipov, 20, and Demetre Shepherd, 17, Michael’s brother, were later pronounced dead at the scene. The Greenport Rescue Squad took Michael Shepherd to Albany Medical Center and he was later transferred to Upstate Medical University in Syracuse for treatment of life-threatening injuries.

The driver of the other vehicle was Elliott Largent, 35, of Philadelphia, PA. He was taken by the Greenport Rescue Squad to Albany Medical Center for treatment of his injuries.

The initial investigation at the scene revealed that the vehicle operated by Michael Shepherd, a 2013 Lexus sedan, was headed south on Route 9H when it crossed over the center line of the road and struck the Largent vehicle head-on. The vehicle operated by Mr. Largent was headed north and is reported to be a 1999 Toyota sedan.

It was further reported that Michael Shepherd and Boburmirzo Sharipov are students at Syracuse University and Demetre Shepherd is a University of Albany student. All were returning home for the Thanksgiving Day break.

Drugs and/or alcohol do not appear to have been a factor in the cause of this accident.

Sheriff Krapf thanked the many agencies and organizations that assisted in this investigation. They include the State Police, Syracuse University Department of Public Safety, SUNY Albany Campus Police, the West Ghent Fire Company, Stottville Fire Company, Claverack Fire Department, Ghent Fire Department, Greenport Rescue Squad, Valatie Rescue Squad, New York State Department of Transportation and the Columbia County Fire Coordinator’s Office. The Stockport Fire Company remained on standby at their station.

State Route 9H was closed to traffic in the area of the accident from 6:55 to 11:23 p.m.

To contact Diane Valden email

Red Cross: Keep an eye on what you fry

GHENT—Thanksgiving is one of the country’s top days for cooking fires, and the American Red Cross of Eastern New York encourages family chefs to follow simple steps to prepare the holiday feast safely.

“Home fires are a real threat over the holidays and represent most of our disaster responses in our region. Help keep your family safe by always keeping an eye on what you fry, testing your smoke alarms monthly and practicing your two-minute escape plan with everyone in your household,” Kevin Coffey, Regional CEO, American Red Cross Eastern New York Region said in a press release.

The Red Cross offers these cooking safety tips:

*Never leave cooking food unattended. If you must leave the kitchen, even for a short period of time, turn off the stove

*Move items that can burn away from the stove. This includes dishtowels, bags, boxes, paper and curtains. Also keep children and pets at least three feet away

*Avoid wearing loose clothing or dangling sleeves while cooking

*When frying food, turn the burner off if you see smoke or if the grease starts to boil. Carefully remove the pan from the burner.

*Keep a pan lid or a cookie sheet nearby. Use it to cover the pan if it catches fire. This will put out the fire. Leave the pan covered until it is completely cooled.

Follow these safety tips and visit for more information, including an escape plan to practice with your family. You can also download the free Red Cross Emergency and First Aid apps by searching “American Red Cross” in app stores.

DEC announces gas station enforcement initiative

An EnCon officer inspects this gas station’s 10-day inventory reconciliation sheets, which compare the amount of fuel received and the amount measured in the tank. Photo courtesy of NYSDEC.

ALBANY—New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Region 4 Director Anthony Luisi recently announced the completion of a six-week gas station enforcement detail in the Capital Region and surrounding counties.

Environmental Conservation Police Officers (ECOs) from DEC’s Division of Law Enforcement, in coordination with DEC’s divisions of Environmental Remediation and Air Resources staff, conducted the detail to protect public health and the environment by inspecting gas stations in disadvantaged communities disproportionately burdened by pollution, as well as other locations in the region.

“Enforcement details are an important tool to protect residents and natural resources from pollution and hold those responsible accountable. This latest gas station detail was an opportunity for us to take a hard look at a particular industry and work with facilities with violations to identify corrective measures and meet compliance requirements that protect public health and the environment,” Regional Director Luisi said in a press release.

The initiative largely focused on compliance at gas station locations in designated Environmental Justice areas. Locations in other communities across the region’s nine counties—Albany, Columbia, Delaware, Greene, Montgomery, Otsego, Rensselaer, Schenectady and Schoharie—were also inspected to ensure compliance with the state’s stringent petroleum bulk storage and air regulations.

During the unannounced inspections, DEC identified non-compliant gas stations and observed a total of 276 violations. DEC worked with gas station representatives to identify corrective measures to reduce harmful vapors escaping from petroleum storage tanks, address petroleum spills from leaking tanks, and correct administrative violations.

Harmful vapors that escape from faulty petroleum storage tanks can impact the quality of life in a community and potentially create health issues for certain populations. Leaking petroleum tanks can contaminate large amounts of soil and water and have the potential to reach streams, rivers, lakes, and other sources of drinking water, contaminating the water used by people and wildlife. The cost of cleanup at facilities after a leak can be in the hundreds of thousands of dollars or more.

Each facility with violations was given an appropriate time frame to correct their infractions. If the violations are not corrected in the required time frame, the facility will be subject to formal administrative enforcement, which may include monetary penalties. DEC will perform follow-up inspections at all the facilities to ensure compliance.

New York City man arrested for robbery in Hudson

HUDSON—Hudson Police arrested Malcolm D. McNeil, 32, of New York City for third degree robbery, a class E felony and resisting arrest, a class A misdemeanor, November 9 at 4:50 p.m.

That day at 4:15 p.m., a 57-year-old Hudson resident called the Hudson Police to report that a man had stolen his money while he was at a convenience store at Second and Warren streets.

The suspect allegedly grabbed $160 in cash from the victim’s hand and refused to give it back. The suspect then allegedly left the store with the money.

HPD patrols and detectives reviewed the store video and recognized the suspect from previous contacts. A short time later Detective Sergeant Jason Finn spotted and confronted Mr. McNeil at the Hudson Amtrak station. Mr. McNeil allegedly resisted arrest and ran up Allen Street. Det. Sgt. Finn was able to apprehend the suspect after a brief struggle. No one, including the victim, was injured during the incident. It is believed that the suspect was planning to leave the area. Read more…

Police investigate fatal motorcycle accident on the parkway

TAGHKANIC—State Police began investigating a fatal motor vehicle crash on the Taconic State Parkway and Post Hill Road in Taghkanic, November 2 at 3:55 p.m.

The initial investigation determined Craig A. McNulty, 59, of Troy was traveling northbound on the Taconic State Parkway operating a 2018 BMW motorcycle and he was struck by an eastbound Taconic Hills Central School District-owned 2019 Chevrolet Traverse student transport vehicle. The SUV was operated by Christine M. Costa, 60, of Claverack crossing the northbound lanes from Post Hill Road.

Mr. McNulty was taken to Columbia Memorial Hospital where he was pronounced dead. Read more…

Man killed in ‘terrible tragedy’ when dumpster fell

Officials on the scene of a fatal dumpster accident. Photo by Lance Wheeler

HUDSON—A Massachusetts man was killed when a dumpster fell on him while it was being unloaded into the rear of a garbage truck the morning of October 24.

Hudson Police received a call from Columbia County 911 at 11:21 a.m. that day, reporting that the Greenport Rescue Squad (GRS) was dispatched to the area of the 200 block of Long Alley for a dumpster that had fallen on top of a man at that location.

All available Hudson Police units responded to the scene to assist Greenport Rescue Squad. Officer Kevin Keyser and GRS attempted lifesaving measures, including CPR without success. The victim, Brett Cathline, 55, of Ashley Falls, MA, an employee of the Barbato disposal company in Hillsdale, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Witnesses told detectives that it appeared the dumpster dropped onto the victim as it was being lowered from a truck. Read more…

Hudson Police arrest inmate who absconded from temporary release

HUDSON—October 18, City Police arrested Arley L. Dahlberg, 37, an inmate at the Hudson Correctional Facility, who allegedly absconded from temporary release several weeks ago.

At around 1:26 a.m. that day, an HPD patrol observed a white SUV headed east on Union Street traveling at a high rate of speed. The operator drove through a red light at Union and Fifth streets.

The vehicle was stopped by patrols at North Sixth and Warren streets. It was determined that the vehicle, a white 2017 Audi Q5, had just been stolen from the 400 block of Union Street. Patrols learned that the driver, Mr. Dahlberg had an active arrest warrant from the Hudson Correctional Facility for absconding from their temporary release program. Absconding is a class E felony under NYS penal law. Mr. Dahlberg was arrested by HPD and taken to the Hudson Police Department for processing and arraignment. At the time of the arrest, Mr. Dahlberg was found to allegedly possess crack cocaine.

He was charged with third degree grand larceny (stolen vehicle), a class D felony, and seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, a class A misdemeanor. Read more…