NORTH COLLINS, N.Y. (WIVB) - The North Collins Highway Superintendent is facing a lot of legal trouble after being arrested on charges he used a government pickup to dump smelly waste into a doctor's car.
David Winter was arraigned Tuesday morning in Hamburg Town Court to avoid any potential conflict of interest that North Collins' judges may have dealing with a fellow elected official.
Winter is being charged with criminal mischief. Authorities say he pulled a town pickup next to a local doctor's car in the parking lot of Gui's Lumber in North Collins and dumping something very pungent inside.
"It hasn't been determined [what that was]. The people who have smelled it suggested it had an ammonia/urine-like smell, others have said it smelled like liquid fertilizing, like liquid manure," said Erie County Sheriff Timothy Howard.
The incident took place last Thursday and part of it is believed to have been captured on Gui's Lumber security cameras.
Sheriff Howard said, "We never know the motive for criminal mischief, and it doesn't really matter in this case. It was obviously done deliberately, so what motivated it? It isn't necessary for us to determine. Sometimes it's a grudge, sometimes it's a payback, sometimes it's long-standing family vendettas... sometimes it's just someone deciding to do something meaningless. It doesn't matter under the law. What does matter is that it was done deliberately and that the damage exceeds $1,500, which makes it a class-D felony."
Winter is free on his own recognizance. He turned himself in Tuesday while standing alongside his attorney. Judges in North Collins will have the case to formally recuse themselves, and then another court will be sought for prosecution.
News 4 reached Winter by phone and asked if he had any comment. He replied, "No, my friend. And have a good day."
Winter was re-elected last fall as the highway superintendent.
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