North Collins Highway Superintendent David J. “Kissy” Winter is expected to plead guilty this morning to a misdemeanor charge of befouling the car of an Eden man with human waste.
Winter, 54, originally was charged with second-degree criminal mischief, a felony, for allegedly dumping human urine into the front seat of the victim’s Chevrolet Suburban at about 2:30 Sept. 13. He was charged with a felony because of the amount of damage done to the seat and carpeting of the vehicle, authorities said.
Winter is expected to plead guilty to a lesser charge and hand over a check for damages this morning as part of a plea bargain.
The victim, who is a friend of a former girlfriend of Winter’s, told Erie County sheriff’s deputies he and his brother were shopping at a lumber store in North Collins when Winter approached them and made some crude jokes. When he left the store, he saw Winter parked in a North Collins Highway Department truck next to his Suburban. The window in the victim’s vehicle was open.
“It’s better to be off than to be on,” Winter said to the victim’s brother, according to a sheriff’s report.
The victim discovered the liquid and tried to wipe it off the seat.
“There was a lot of liquid running from under the driver’s door … and an odor. I thought it was gas at first. … It smelled like urine.”
Deputies said they found Winter at a town park on Langford Road, and he agreed to pay the bill for the cleaning.
“Winter stated that the liquid was human urine,” the sheriff’s report said.
Several days later, the victim called deputies to say the car could not be cleaned because the liquid had penetrated the seat, which needed to be replaced, along with the carpeting.
The final bill came to $5,290.50.
The case was transferred to Hamburg Town Court after North Collins Town Justices John H. Stevens and Ward W. Weiser disqualified themselves from the case.
Winter, a colorful figure whose campaign signs depicted a life-size cutout of him in overalls, was first elected five years ago and re-elected last November.
He has generated controversy in the town before for hiring his son to work as a machinery operator in the Highway Department and for using fill from the reconstruction of New Oregon Road as a base to rebuild old Rocky Mountain Road, which resulted in property owners filing a lawsuit against the town.
While Town Board members have received complaints about him, he is an elected official and cannot be removed by the board.
There is discussion of moving the highway superintendent’s job from an elected position to an appointed position. The move must be approved by voters, and the measure could be put on the ballot by the Town Board or petitions filed by residents.