Buchanan rejects plea offer for jail and probation sentence

Staff Writer
The Chronicle Express

Appearing in Yates County Court before Judge Jason L. Cook June 30,CHARLES BUCHANAN, 39, one of the three people arrested for weapons and drug charges following a late night car chase, an off-road wreck, and a confrontation with police in early January, has rejected a plea bargain that would have had him released from jail in a matter of days.

DriverBRADLEY ZADUL, 40, of Niagara Falls, and passengersJESSICA OWEN, 32, of Umatilla, Fla. and Buchanan, of Penn Yan, were arrested at the end of that high speed pursuit through Penn Yan at 2:34 a.m. Jan. 2, and were later indicted by a grand jury.

Police say they observed Zadul leaving a suspected drug location in Penn Yan driving an uninspected vehicle. They stopped him for the violation at East Elm and Main Streets, but as officers approached the vehicle, Zadul fled the stop. They pursued Zadul through the village north on Rte. 14A into Benton at speeds over 100 mph, turning east on Buckle Road and to North Flat Street where Zadul left the roadway and attempted to drive through a farmer’s field in a small Mazda wagon. Zadul broke through an electric fence and struck a barn before driving into a ditch. Zadul attempted to flee on foot and was tasered by Yates County Sheriff’s Deputies who were assisting in the pursuit.

While searching Zadul, PYPD located a loaded .25 caliber handgun in his waistband, and a sheath knife on his belt. Officers also located a sawed-off 20 gauge shotgun in the vehicle that had the serial number defaced, along with several bags of suspected methamphetamine and marijuana. Zadul’s vehicle was impounded, and a further search revealed a .22 caliber revolver, along with numerous bags of marijuana seeds, over $1,100 in cash, a baton, knives, and drug paraphernalia. Police also located a full Kingsmen Motorcycle Club vest along with numerous Kingsmen patches, and say Zadul appears to be a member of the Kingsmen, which has been involved in criminal activity in Western New York and has chapters in other states.

Buchanan is charged with 2nd degree criminal possession of a weapon (class C felony) and 3rd degree criminal possession of a weapon with a deface serial number (class D felony). The plea bargain promised 6 months in jail followed by 5 years probation or a straight 1 year in jail if he pleads to the lower felony. Buchanan maintained in court, “I’m innocent,” and defense attorney Travis Barry began his argument of pre-trial motions. Buchanan remains on pre-trial release until further hearings Aug. 6.

Originally charged with 2nd degree criminal possession of a loaded weapon (C felony) and 3rd degree criminal possession of a weapon (D felony), Owen pled guilty June 23 to a reduced charge of of attempted 2nd degree criminal possession of a loaded weapon as a class D felony. Owen was promised a minimum sentence of 1 year up to a maximum of 2 years in prison and 2 years of parole, plus a fine, mandatory surcharge, DNA registry and fee and a waiver of appeal.She was remanded on $10,000 bail or $15,000 fully secured bond or $20,000 partially secured bond. Assistant District Attorney Michael Tantillo stated the plea was acceptable because Owen was “less culpable that the principal defendant, Mr. Zadul.”

Zadul, who is a convicted felon prohibited from possessing firearms, pled not guilty to numerous charges from the incident; two counts of 2nd degree criminal possession of a weapon (class C felony), three counts of 3rd degree criminal possession of a weapon (class D felony), unlawfully fleeing police, resisting arrest, DWAI by drugs, 3rd degree aggravated unlicensed operation, and speeding. He faces further charges for the drugs found in the vehicle, pending lab results for analysis and weight. He is due in court Aug. 11.