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Alleged drunk driver charged in death of motorcyclist

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By DIANE VALDEN

CRARYVILLE—A motorcyclist was killed in a two-vehicle crash at the intersection of County Route 11A and State Route 23, May 25 at 9:30 p.m.

Columbia County 911 dispatched Sheriff’s patrols, who determined that a 2023 Ford F-150 pickup truck, operated by Alan Ingraham, 75, of Copake was traveling west on State Route 23 when it attempted to make a left-hand turn onto County Route 11A and failed to yield the right of way to a 1991 Honda motorcycle traveling east on State Route 23, according to a press release from Columbia County Sheriff Donald J. Krapf.

The motorcycle was operated by Christopher Simmons, 29, of Mechanicville, who was ejected from the motorcycle after striking the pickup truck. The Community Rescue Squad treated Mr. Simmons at the scene and took him to Columbia Memorial Hospital, where he was later pronounced dead.

Mr. Ingraham appeared to be intoxicated, deputies said, and it was later determined that his blood alcohol content was more than twice the New York State legal limit.

Sheriff’s investigators were called to the scene to assist with the case, and Mr. Ingraham was charged with second degree vehicular manslaughter, a class D felony, and driving while intoxicated, an undetermined misdemeanor. He was also ticketed for failure to keep right and failure to yield to the right of way. He was arraigned by Justice Michael Brandon in Claverack Court and sent to the Columbia County Jail in lieu of $1,000 cash bail or $2,000 bond. He is due back in court at a later date.

A passenger in Mr. Ingraham’s vehicle, Rosemary Ingraham, was taken to Columbia Memorial Hospital for minor injuries.

An autopsy was conducted on Mr. Simmons and the results are pending. The Sheriff’s Office is continuing to investigate the accident.

The Craryville Fire Department and State Police assisted the Sheriff’s Office at the scene. State Route 23 was closed for about three hours during the investigation.

Livingston

State Police Livingston Bureau of Criminal Investigation in conjunction with the Troop K Computer Crimes Unit arrested James Jennings, 36, of Livingston on five counts of possession of obscene sexual performance by a child, a class E felony, May 20.

After receiving a law enforcement tip, investigators determined Mr. Jennings was allegedly in possession of child pornography.

He was arraigned before Justice Angela Guzzi in Livingston Court and was sent to to the Columbia County Jail without bail.

Kinderhook

State Police from the Kinderhook and Livingston barracks arrested Jason Pelas, 39, of Stuyvesant for second degree burglary, a class C felony, and third degree criminal mischief, a class E felony, May 21.

A resident of Kinderhook Village contacted Columbia County 911 while watching a subject on home security cameras enter a residence through a window and search the house for valuables. Troopers located and arrested the suspect, later identified as Mr. Pelas, in the nearby woods.

He was arraigned before Justice Thomas Baumgartner in Kinderhook Village Court and released on his own recognizance. He is scheduled to reappear before the court June 3.

To contact Diane Valden email dvalden@columbiapaper.com

‘Springtime can be scamming time’

GHENT—The New York Department of State’s Division of Consumer Protection shares tips to prevent home improvement scams. Home improvement scams have consistently ranked among New Yorkers’ top five consumer complaints. This spring New Yorkers may be considering making improvements around their homes, however contractor fraud and home improvement scams can cost homeowners thousands of dollars and leave them with poor workmanship or unfinished projects.

Secretary of State Robert J. Rodriguez said in a press release, “Unfortunately, Springtime can be scamming time when it comes to home improvements. Imagine having work done on your house only to find out the ‘improvements’ actually made the problems worse because of shoddy work or someone ran off with your money without finishing the job. Before agreeing to home improvement projects, I urge you to learn how to avoid costly mistakes with tips from our Consumer Protection Division.”

Before you decide on a contractor, consider the following list of tips to avoid common home improvement scams.

*Shop around: Get at least three estimates that include detailed information about materials, services to be provided and a projected timeline

*Know who you hire: Ask friends and neighbors to recommend contractors they have worked with. Check the references provided by the contractors. Look into local home builder associations that may recommend reputable contractors and provide support if there is a dispute

*Check your local government licensing requirements: NYS does not license home improvement contractors, but some counties and local municipalities do. Look into what is required in your area and be sure the contractor has proper licensure and has insurance

*Get it in writing and be sure the contract includes: The contractors’ name, address, and phone number; Estimated timeline with start and finish date; Detailed description of the work to be completed; Detailed pricing that includes a list of supplies and labor costs

*Scammers will knock on your door suggesting improvements they can help you with like new windows or the latest solar panels. Some may claim to be in the area and to have materials left over from a previous job

*Scammers will pressure you for an immediate decision

*Scammers will recommend a lender they know to help pay for the job. Don’t finance through your contractor

*Know your rights: You have three days to cancel after signing a contract for home improvements. All cancellations must be in writing

*Never pay full price up front: Establish a payment schedule tied to completing specific jobs. Don’t pay with cash or wire transfer. Withhold final payment until the entire project is completed to your satisfaction.

Running into a problem? First, speak with the contractor and try to reach a resolution. If a resolution is not possible, file a complaint with your local consumer protection agency, the New York State Division of Consumer Protection at https://dos.ny.gov/consumer-protection or the New York State Attorney General at https://ag.ny.gov/file-complaint.

For more tips, check out the comprehensive guide designed to help homeowners avoid home improvement scams.

The Consumer Assistance Helpline 1-800-697-1220 is available Monday to Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., excluding state holidays, and consumer complaints can be filed at any time at www.dos.ny.gov/consumer-protection.

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