Back In Custody: Judge Revokes Bail For Man Involved In Fatal Crashes
MAYVILLE — A Jamestown man seriously injured in a crash that also killed a woman last December is back in custody at the Chautauqua County Jail.
Jason Schmidt, Chautauqua County district attorney, confirmed that Randall J. Rolison was released from UPMC Hamot in Erie, Pa., where he had been receiving ongoing treatment for numerous injuries. Deputies with the Sheriff’s Office on Thursday picked Rolison up and brought him back to New York.
Rolison was driving a sport utility vehicle Dec. 3 that collided with a 2018 Ford F-150 at Route 83 and Center Road in the town of Arkwright. The crash resulted in the death of Linda Kraemer, a 71-year-old South Dayton resident, and injuries to her husband.
At the time of the Arkwright collision, Rolison was out on bail awaiting trial on charges of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon after police in January 2022 recovered unregistered handguns that he kept inside a storage unit.
He also was awaiting trial on charges of second-degree manslaughter, criminally negligent homicide and driving while ability impaired by drugs related to a Dec. 31, 2021, crash in Jamestown that killed 15-year-old Alexis Catherine Hughan.
Schmidt had filed for Rolison’s bail to be revoked on the felony indictments.
“That motion resulted in Judge Foley issuing a warrant for Mr. Rolison and law enforcement monitoring Mr. Rolison’s progress at UPMC Hamot so that he could be taken into custody at the appropriate time, swiftly returned to Chautauqua County, and presented to County Court for a hearing on my motion,” Schmidt said in a statement.
In court, Foley granted the DA’s motion to have the bail revoked.
Ned Barone, Chautauqua County public defender and whose office is representing Rolison, was frustrated by how Thursday’s events unfolded.
“It’s obvious from the court’s decision that this was, unfortunately, determined some time ago,” Barone said of the bail revocation. “In regards to Mr. Rolison, all we ever look for is an even playing field, but sometimes this feels like it’s an exercise in futility arguing our position. So, right now, we just want to put things on the record for future appeal, if necessary.”
Rolison’s involvement in the Dec. 3 fatal crash in the north county drew scorn from those familiar with the New Year’s Eve crash a year prior. In that case, Rolison was behind the wheel of a tractor-trailer hauling several vehicles when he struck Hughan as she crossed West Sixth Street in Jamestown.
At the time, he was charged with leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident involving a death and driving while ability impaired by drugs.
Regarding the Arkwright incident, the New York State Police last year said a 2020 Chevrolet Trail Blazer being operated by Rolison reportedly failed to stop at a stop sign at Route 83 and Center Road when it collided with the 2018 Ford F-150.
Lisa Keller, who resides right near the intersection and has encountered numerous crashes over the years, called for a review of traffic due to ongoing safety concerns with the area.
“To me, a start would be reduction in speed,” she said in an interview. “(A) flashing light would be great, and I don’t relish having blinking lights in front of my house 24 hours a day, but I’d rather have that than people getting hurt and dying.”
The state Department of Transportation said it was looking into Route 83 and whether any changes should be made.
“We are currently preparing for trial on the two sets of pending charges against Mr. Rolison and will be moving forward with a new set of charges arising from the December accident,” Schmidt said Thursday.
Barone, meanwhile, noted that Rolison is currently on the County Court’s trial schedule for March. He questioned how all the pre-trial publicity his return to Chautauqua County this week will impact finding an impartial jury should either case indeed go to trial.