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Trucking executive jailed for drunken boating
News Staff Reporter
Derek W. Staub, head of a Buffalo trucking company, Tuesday was sentenced to 60 days in jail and fines totaling $1,610 for the drunken boating crash last year that might have killed a retired state trooper if not for the aid of a Good Samaritan.

State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang gave the apologetic Staub, 37, head of Black Rock Trucking, until Friday morning to surrender to begin his jail term for the crash he caused under the South Grand Island Bridge on the Niagara River.

Staub's boat ran over one operated by retired Trooper John Henshaw about 1:30 a.m. July 23, 2005. During Tuesday's sentencing, Henshaw told the judge he was "left out in the middle of the river drowning" as Staub sped away without helping him.

Deputy District Attorney Lawrence M. Schwegler said the injured Henshaw was pulled from the water by the operator of a third boat, who dropped him off on a nearby dock and motored away without revealing his identity.

Staub, indicted on 11 criminal charges under both the state Penal Law and the state navigation law, sped back to his East River Road home with his injured passenger, his cousin Scott Hickok, who had been knocked unconscious in the collision, the prosecutor said.

At his dock, Staub told his brother, Brendan, to call the Sheriff's Department and claim that Brendan had been operating the powerboat during the collision, Schwegler said. Meanwhile, Staub ran upstairs and began trying to wash off his blood-stained clothing, Schwegler said.

Sheriff's Deputy Daryl DeMary was suspicious of Brendan Staub's explanation of the accident and noted his clothing lacked any blood stains, the prosecutor said. So the deputy went in the house and confronted Derek Staub, who was still drunk and trying to wash the blood off his clothing, said Schwegler.

Derek Staub pleaded guilty to navigation law misdemeanors of operation of a vessel while under the influence of alcohol, refusing to submit to a breath test, reckless vessel operation and attempting to leave the scene of an accident.

As a result of Erie County District Attorney Frank J. Clark's continuing crackdown on drunken driving on highways and waterways, Staub also pleaded guilty to Penal Law charges of reckless endangerment, attempted vehicular assault and third-degree assault, Schwegler said. He could have faced up to a year in jail. Court officials said he will spend 40 days behind bars under the state's good-time sentencing laws.

Schwegler said that Brendan Staub, 34, who was charged with falsely reporting an accident, was recently granted an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal in Grand Island Town Court.