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Motorcycle activist fatally injured in motorcycle mishap


VALATIE–A Greenport man was killed in a motorcycle accident on State Route 203 near Rod and Gun Club Road at the south end of the village, Sunday, June 24, at 9:15 p.m.

An investigation by State Police revealed that John Wrigley, 54, of Greenport was travelling west when he failed to negotiate a curve, struck and sheared off a National Grid utility pole.

Mr. Wrigley sustained internal injuries and was flown via Med-Flight helicopter to the Albany Medical Center, where he succumbed to his injuries.  Troopers were assisted at the scene by Valatie firefighters and the Valatie Rescue Squad. Mutual aid was provided by Niverville firefighters. Units were back in service at 11:45 p.m.


Three people face drug possession charges as a result of a raid on a house at 23 Main Street in the village that residents refer to as “the snakepit.”

Columbia County Sheriff David W. Harrison, Jr. said in a press release that officers arrested Lisa Perez, 26, of 23 Main Street, Philmont; Justin VanAlstyne, 25, of Little Lake Road, Valatie and Heather Allen Shook, 30, of Main Street, Philmont, Sunday, June 24 at 1:11 p.m.

Sheriff’s Office Special Operations SWAT team, uniformed deputies and investigators executed a search warrant issued by County Court Judge Richard Koweek and seized about 90 grams of cocaine and $2,600 in cash.

All three suspects were charged with two counts of third degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, including one count for possession with the intent to sell, class B felonies.

Ms. Shook was additionally charged with two counts of seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance, class A misdemeanors.

All three were arraigned in Livingston Town Court before Town Justice Robert Q. Moore and were sent to the Columbia County Jail without bail to return to town court at a later date.

The arrests are the result of an investigation by the Sheriff’s Office Drug Education and Enforcement Unit, the Columbia County District Attorney’s Office, the Capital District Drug Task Force and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency Albany Office.

The investigation is continuing and additional charges and arrests are possible.  Sheriff Harrison said in the release,  “The Columbia County Sheriff’s Office along with DA Paul Czajka’s Office and our local, state and federal law enforcement partners will continue to work together using whatever resources needed to stop drug trafficking in Columbia County.”


Joshua Tillinghast, 25, of Springfield, MA, was charged on a felony desertion warrant issued by the United State Army by Livingston Trooper J. Burleigh, June 22.

Mr. Tillinghast was stopped for speeding on the Taconic State Parkway in Claverack and was found to be wanted for desertion. Troopers took him to Fort Hamilton, Brooklyn and turned him over to the U.S. Army Military Police for processing.



Robynn Thomas, 38, who is police say is homeless and last known to be living in Schodack, was charged with fourth degree grand larceny by Kinderhook Trooper W. Hogencamp, May 1.

A friend of Ms. Thomas allowed her to stay at his house and while there, she allegedly stole a silver set. Ms. Thomas was released with an appearance ticket returnable in Stuyvesant Court.



Thomas Golden, 28, of Craryville was charged with third degree assault and seventh degree criminal possession of a controlled substance by Livingston Troopers M. Radewitz and A. Schrader, May 1.

Mr. Golden allegedly got into a fight with a woman and allegedly told his Rottweiler to attack her. The dog did, biting the woman on the leg and further injuring her. When Mr. Golden was taken into custody, police found him to be in possession of hydrocodone pills for which he did not have a prescription. He was arraigned in Claverack Court and posed $1,000 bail.  He was to reappear to answer charges in Ghent Town Court.



The following face drug- and/or alcohol-related charges:

*Jimmy Marin, 45, of Pittsfield, MA, was charged with aggravated driving while intoxicated by Trooper N. Lombardi, April 21. Mr. Marin was stopped for vehicle and traffic law violations on State Route 20, New Lebanon and was found to be intoxicated. He registered .28% on a blood alcohol content test. The legal limit is .08%. Mr. Marin was arraigned in New Lebanon Court and released by the judge after posting $200 bail. He was to reappear in court at a later date.


*Michael Toker, 27, of Hillsdale was charged with driving while intoxicated by Trooper B. Keeler, April 24. Mr. Toker was found on State 9H, Claverack with a car that had run out of gas. He was also found to be intoxicated. He was issued tickets returnable in Claverack Court.


*Judith A. Webb, 45, of Ashley Falls, MA, was charged with failure to keep right, driving while intoxicated and operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content greater than .08% by Deputies Brian Molinski and Jason Garvey during a traffic stop on State Route 23, Hillsdale, April 29 at 1:52 a.m.  Arraigned in Hillsdale Court before Town Justice Russ Immarigeon, Ms. Webb was released on her recognizance and ordered to return to court at a later date.


*Dominick Oliveri, 52, of Germantown was charged with driving while intoxicated by Trooper J. Cort, April 29. Mr. Oliveri was stopped on State 9G, Greenport for having a headlight out and was found to be intoxicated. He was released on tickets returnable in Greenport Court.


*A 17-year-old Livingston male, not identified by deputies, was charged with driving while intoxicated, operating a motor vehicle with a blood alcohol content greater than .08%, leaving the scene of a property damage accident, driving out of class, unsafe lane change and fourth degree criminal mischief by Deputies Kris Bauhoff and Thomas Bagnall, May 1 at 1:40 a.m. Deputies investigated an automobile crash of Black Bridge Road, Livingston in which the teen was driving a 2007 Saturn south on Blackbridge Road, Livingston. Deputies say the teen was intoxicated and lost control of the vehicle causing it to overturn. The youth allegedly left the scene of the accident and prior to the crash, allegedly threw a rock into a window of residence on Blackbridge Road and broke it. He was issued tickets to answer the charges in Livingston Court.

To contact Diane Valden email dvalden@columbiapaper.com.

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