Niagara Gazette

Crime

November 23, 2012

K-9 caper leads to arrest in hit-and-run case

Niagara Gazette — A Niagara County Sheriff's Office K-9, who needed to answer the "call of nature," and his handler, are among those getting credit for putting a hit-and-run driver behind bars on Thanksgiving eve.

"We had a little bit of luck, a lot of police work and the help of a witness," Falls Police Traffic Division Capt. Sal Pino said in describing what led to the arrest of Mark Brown. 

Brown, 43, of the Falls, faces charges of driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of a serious injury accident, vehicular assault and tampering with evidence in connection with the crash that left a 58-year-old Niagara Falls man seriously injured in the 9100 block of Niagara Falls Boulevard around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Pino said another driver witnessed the accident and, after seeing that someone had stopped to help the victim, decided to follow the the car that struck the man. 

"(The witness) realized what had happened and he figured he'd go after (the hit-and-run driver)," Pino said. "But (the witness) was not from the Falls, so as he was following (Brown) he didn't know where he was going and became concerned that he might be going into a bad area."

The witness got the license plate number of what turned out to be Brown's car and returned to the crash scene to give the information to Falls Police Traffic Division officers who were there investigating the incident.

"(The witness) was even able to provide us with some very particular information that the rear quarter panel of the car was a different color than the rest of the car," Pino said. 

Concerned that the hit-and-run driver might try to dispose of the car in a rural area outside of the city, Pino asked police dispatchers to broadcast a description of the vehicle to not only city cops, but to sheriff's deputies as well. That paid immediate dividends.

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