Clarence schools close as officials search for suspect in the area


CLARENCE, N.Y. (WIVB) — Schools in the Clarence Central School District are closed Wednesday as law enforcement officials search for a person of interest.

David Cottom, Sr. is being sought in the area of Pineledge Drive and Winding Lane, the Erie County Sheriff’s Office says.

At some point, they say a quickly-moving vehicle nearly struck a Sheriff’s Office vehicle along Main Street in Clarence.

When deputies tried to stop the driver, they say he fled the scene. Ground and air units were subsequently deployed to find him.

Luke Allport-Cohoon, whose vehicle was parked at the nearby Clarence United Methodist Church, believes Cottom may have gone through his vehicle.

After noticing a smoky smell in his car, Allport-Cohoon believes he saw Cottom on or near the road roughly five minutes later. Allport-Cohoon says the man tried to flag him down, but he continued driving away.

And after seeing a helicopter, Allport-Cohoon says he put the picture together and called 911.

At the current time, authorities do not believe Cottom is a danger to the public, but they believe he was despondent when the incident occurred.

Anyone who sees him is being asked to call (716) 858-2903.

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