After the Party

  • Published
  • By Col. "Tip" Stinnette
  • 39th Air Base Wing commander
When the West Seneca police responded to a noisy house party involving over-indulging drinkers early one Saturday morning on Hybank Drive, they never expected to trigger a tragedy. But the sight of an approaching patrol car caused some 50 young people to scatter, and one of them ran off a 60-foot cliff, police said. 

Joshua Hill screamed as he plummeted toward the rocky shore of Cazenovia Creek, where authorities said he suffered head injuries. Hill, 18, of West Seneca, was listed in critical condition late Saturday in Erie County Medical Center. 

"It's a tragic accident brought on by the over consumption of alcohol," said Detective Lt. Dale H. Wright. 

Douglas, 20, of Hybank Drive was charged with creating a criminal nuisance and violating the town's noise ordnance at his family's home. 

"His parents are on vacation in Florida, and he was holding a party," officer Wright said. "Douglas is at Erie County Medical Center. He was taken there due to his emotional state. He is distraught over what happened." Douglas said he barely knew Hill, but is hoping he survives his injuries. "It's an unfortunate incident. We're hoping that he makes it out okay." 

Police are attempting to determine the reason for the gathering. The tragedy was set in motion after neighbors called police to complain about the noise coming from the party. At 3:45 a.m., Officer Wright arrived at the house and said he observed approximately 50 people running from the residence. Hill and a companion ran toward the rear of the yard, where there is brush and trees rolling up to the cliff. Police speculated that Hill never saw the drop. 

"He ran off the end of the embankment above the creek. A friend running with him heard him screaming as he fell over the cliff," officer Wright said. 

Vigilant Volunteer Fire Company responded, and rescue workers found Hill unconscious but breathing. He was taken by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center, where he underwent surgery. 

"He's in very critical condition," officer Wright said. Douglas was scheduled to appear in West Seneca Town Court at 7 p.m. Tuesday. 

West Seneca could be Incirlik. Our Law Enforcement team often gets calls about noisy parties and we've had people try to evade our Security Forces. Just when we thought we had this one licked, BAM, we have an alcohol-related incident. With the inspection past and the accolades present, you'd think we'd be better than this, but apparently not everyone. 

So here we stand after the "party," what are you going to do ... over-indulge and run off a cliff or celebrate responsibly with friends who are equally committed to ensuring freedom's future.