BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — New Era CEO Chris Koch was charged with a felony after intentionally and recklessly driving his Cadillac toward his girlfriend’s ex-husband outside a North Buffalo restaurant Saturday night, authorities said.
According to the Erie County District Attorney’s Office, the 61-year-old was involved in an incident outside Oliver’s Restaurant on Delaware Avenue near Delham in Buffalo.
On Saturday night around 8:30, they say Koch was involved in an argument with his girlfriend’s ex-husband in the parking lot. Erie County District Attorney John Flynn says the ex was not at the restaurant by chance.
According to prosecutors and court paperwork obtained by News 4, the ex-husband got out of his vehicle and approached Koch’s 2022 Cadillac. The police report says the man attempted to fight Koch, saying, “Let’s settle this like men.”
They say that when this happened, Koch drove toward the man, leading him to jump out of the way.
“When the victim exited his vehicle and approached the defendant’s vehicle, the defendant allegedly engaged in conduct that created grave risk of death to another person by intentionally driving his vehicle toward the victim,” the District Attorney’s Office wrote.
The victim suffered a hand injury, the District Attorney’s Office says. In addition to this, they say Koch hit the man’s vehicle, damaging the passenger side.
Koch’s attorney Aaron Glazer said he believes Koch did not commit a criminal act.
“Clearly there was a traffic accident,” Glazer told News 4’s Chris Horvatits. “However, Paul (Cambria) and I firmly believe that based upon the evidence, Mr. Koch committed no criminal acts whatsoever. The rest will be resolved in the courthouse.”
Koch is scheduled to be back in court on May 25 for a felony hearing, but he remains released on his own recognizance for now. He faces up to seven years in prison if he’s convicted.
A temporary no-contact order of protection was issued on behalf of the victim.
Koch was named New Era’s president in 1993, and CEO in 2001. The cap company declined to comment on Saturday’s incident.
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Chris Horvatits is an award-winning reporter who joined the News 4 team in December 2017. See more of his work here.