Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — A Niagara County Family Court support magistrate has not yet been arraigned on drunken driving charges stemming from a head-on, rollover accident on the Robert Moses Parkway.
Magistrate Timothy Cooper had been scheduled to appear in Lewiston Town Court to face charges of driving while intoxicated and moving from a lane unsafely. That appearance was postponed when both Town Justice Hugh Gee and Justice Thomas Sheeran each recused themselves from the case.
The matter has now been referred to Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas for reassignment to a new court. Some court watchers have suggested that the case might need to be moved to Erie County, because Copper has worked with most of the judges and justices in Niagara County.
He reportedly hears Family Court support cases in both the Falls and Lockport.
Transferring the case to Erie County could also be a problem. Copper, 59, lives in Derby in southern Erie County and has been a long sitting justice in the nearby Town of Evans.
The crash occurred around 10:10 p.m. on April 23. Lewiston police and New York State Police troopers said they found an SUV on its side, in the northbound lane of the parkway, when they arrived at the scene.
The SUV, driven by Cooper, had hit another car, heading south on the parkway, head-on.
The 74-year-old driver of that vehicle was taken to the Erie County Medical Center in Buffalo for treatment of injuries that were not life-threatening. Copper, and a passenger in his SUV, were also not seriously injured.
The magistrate refused to take a Breathalyzer test after the crash.
Police and prosecutors have said Copper could face additional charges when the investigation of the accident is completed.