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DEC announces sentencing for '18 assault on an Environmental Conservation Officer

Wed, Jun 12th 2019 07:00 pm

On June 6, a man who injured and dragged a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Police Officer while riding a four-wheeled utility vehicle was sentenced to serve one year in jail for the offense.  

Wheatfield Town Justice Gary Strenkoski sentenced James J. Olscamp, 31, of Sanborn, to one year in Niagara County Jail after pleading guilty to assault in the third degree. 

The incident occurred on July 22, 2018, when Environmental Conservation Officer Shea Mathis responded to a report of trespassing on private property in the town of Wheatfield. When Mathis attempted to stop two men who were operating an ATV and a UTV, both operators refused.

Dean R. Banks, 52, of Niagara Falls, was driving the ATV and nearly ran over Mathis as he sped from the scene. Mathis then attempted to place Olscamp under arrest, but he refused to stop, and dragged the officer. Mathis sustained cuts and bruises to his legs and arms and injuries to his forehead after being dragged an estimated 400 yards.

“The defendant in this case purposely injured our officer in an attempt to evade charges,” DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement. “Across the state, DEC’s Environmental Conservation Police Officers are out in our communities protecting the environment, wildlife, and our citizens, but they also deal with the dangerous cases typically faced by local and state law enforcement officials.”

In addition, to his sentence, Olscamp is required to pay restitution to the state in the amount of $2,237 for equipment destroyed during the course of the assault. Banks had previously pled guilty to attempted reckless endangerment, and ATV trespassing, and paid $1,030 in fines and surcharges. 

The case was prosecuted by the Niagara County District Attorney’s Office, headed by District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek, and ADA Ryan Parisi.

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