By Matthew Reitz
Fulton police recently charged four people following their investigation of a hit-and-run incident outside of Shotz bar in July.
Police say Michael A. Kessler, 24, of Fulton, Marquis D. Andrews, 23, of Fulton, Kevin L. Waugh Jr., 24, of Fulton, and Bryan M. Whelan, 46, of Pennellville, had all assaulted Michael K. Stafford III outside the bar around 2 a.m. on the morning of July 31.
Following the alleged assault, Stafford reportedly got into his 2011 Kia and recklessly drove the vehicle into a group of eight people standing on the sidewalk in front of the building.
Stafford reportedly struck and injured three people with the Kia — including two of the men who allegedly assaulted him, along with one bystander — before fleeing the scene of the incident.
A lengthy investigation began with police executing a search warrant at the bar and seizing video of the incident.
The video evidence led police to Stafford, who admitted to being involved in the incident, according to police.
Police said interviews with Stafford and other patrons of the bar led investigators to witnesses, and ultimately the arrests of Kessler, Andrews, Waugh and Whelan.
Stafford, 30, of Fulton, has been charged with class D felony counts of second-degree assault, third-degree criminal possession of a weapon and eight counts of first-degree reckless endangerment.
According to police, an arrest warrant has been issued for Stafford, who is currently incarcerated at the Willard Correctional Facility in Seneca County for a parole violation.
Kessler, Whelan and Waugh have been arrested and charged with one count of third-degree assault, a misdemeanor.
Police said the three men intentionally engaged in the physical altercation. They said Waugh initiated the fight by rushing Stafford and pushing him to the ground.
Police say Kessler, Andrews, Waugh and Whelan then punched and kicked Stafford causing facial swelling, bruising to the left eye, and a loss of consciousness.
Whelan was additionally charged with one count of second-degree strangulation, a class D felony, for allegedly choking Stafford during the fight and causing him to lose consciousness.
The motor vehicle incident following the alleged assault caused injuries to Kessler, Whelan, and Cindy Coe, 45, of Baldwinsville.
Kessler was treated for fractured vertebrae, and Whelan and Coe suffered minor bruising and abrasions.
A criminal summons has been issued for Andrews, who remains at large. Kessler, Whelan and Waugh were arraigned by Judge David Hawthorne and released on their own recognizance.