RANDOLPH, N.Y. (WIVB) - The hunter who fired a shot and struck a school bus full of children will spend the next year behind bars.
William Donald Squire was sentenced Tuesday on charges of criminal mischief, reckless endangerment, and environmental conservation charges after being convicted in a jury trial in July.
Squire was on his own property in a tree stand when he fired his gun at a deer in November of 2011. He missed, and the deer slug continued across Route 241 and struck a Randolph bus. It nearly struck the driver, who was taking 35 students to school.
"He discharged his rifle at a deer in the direction of the roadway. The round missed the deer and traveled across State Route 241, striking the bus and entering just about the door," NYS Police Capt. Steven Graap said.
From where Squire was in the stand, to the point the bus was hit, was nearly 500 yards. Police say Squire was unaware he hit the bus until they approached him.
How does an accident like this happen? Hunter Dennis Deasy, who is also a firearms instructor and the owner of the Niagara Gun Club, explained, "The adrenaline surge of being out there and you're going out deer hunting and that once- in-a-lifetime prized buck happens to come out; unfortunately the adrenaline factor comes in and you may end up with a little bit of tunnel vision because you're so focused on that prize in front of you."
But Deasy adds safety always need to be on anyone's mind when they have a gun in their hands. He believes something like this was a freak accident.
"Just thank God no one was injured and hopefully something like this never happens again," Deasy said.
Squire had the opportunity to plea to a lesser charge, but decided to go to trial. In handing out the sentence on Tuesday, the judge noted Squire had missed a court-ordered meeting with the probation office. The probation report given to the judge recommended imprisonment "until [Squire] would take responsibility," and the judge followed that advice, putting Squire behind bars for a year.
He has two weeks to report to jail. His defense team said they plan on filing an appeal at once.
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