(WNY News Now) – A Former Erie County jail deputy faced arraignment for alleged reckless endangerment and assault charges in Orchard Park, following accusations of driving through a barricade during a Buffalo Bills game.
Orchard Park – Former Erie County jail deputy John A. Gugino, aged 47, appeared before Orchard Park Town Court Justice Jorge S. DeRosas for arraignment, facing charges related to an incident during a Buffalo Bills game. Gugino was arraigned on one count of Reckless Endangerment in the Second Degree and one count of Assault in the Third Degree, both classified as Class “A” misdemeanors. He also faced two Vehicle and Traffic Law violations for Failure to Obey a Police Officer and Failure to Obey a Traffic Control Device.
The charges stem from an alleged incident on October 1, 2023, where Gugino is accused of knowingly and unlawfully disregarding the instructions of an Erie County Sheriff’s deputy and removing road closure signs near Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park. This action allegedly resulted in a substantial risk of serious physical injury to another person, as Gugino drove his vehicle through a barricade onto a closed section of Abbott Road, which had been blocked off due to the ongoing Buffalo Bills game. During this incident, the deputy was injured when he fell while attempting to halt Gugino’s vehicle, sustaining minor injuries to his right arm and shoulder.
If found guilty, Gugino could face a maximum sentence of one year in jail.
It is important to note that Gugino had an existing criminal case pending in Orchard Park Town Court, which was scheduled for a non-jury trial. However, this trial was adjourned due to his arraignment on the new charges. In the prior case, Gugino faced one count of Criminal Trespass in the Third Degree, a Class “B” misdemeanor, and two counts of Harassment in the Second Degree, categorized as violations.
The earlier incident took place on July 23, 2022, around 9:11 p.m., when Gugino reportedly refused to leave a concert at Highmark Stadium after being ejected for violating the venue’s fan conduct policy related to profanity. During this episode, Gugino allegedly resisted complying with orders and engaged in a physical struggle with sheriff’s deputies while being escorted out of the stadium. In the process, he scratched the right forearm of one deputy and made multiple threatening statements towards another member of the Erie County Sheriff’s Office.
In response to allegations of misconduct by law enforcement officers during the earlier incident involving Gugino, the Erie County District Attorney’s Office conducted an investigation but found no evidence of any officer misconduct.
Gugino’s next court appearance is scheduled for Thursday, December 21, 2023, at 5:00 p.m. for further proceedings in both cases. Notably, he remains released on his own recognizance, as the charges do not qualify for bail under current regulations.