Driver Accused of Purposely Damaging Park

October 30, 2013 Updated Oct 30, 2013 at 8:09 PM EDT

By WKBW News
By Megan Erbacher

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Driver Accused of Purposely Damaging Park

October 30, 2013 Updated Oct 30, 2013 at 8:09 PM EDT

ORCHARD PARK, NY (WKBW) -- The Erie County Sheriff's Office has charged Joseph Ballo, 22, of Buffalo with a felony criminal mischief charge after an incident at Chestnut Ridge Park Wednesday afternoon.

A spokesperson for the Erie County Sheriff's Office says deputies arrived on the scene to investigate fresh damage reported by park employees. The area near one of the park's shelters had recently sustained extensive rutting damage.

A deputy noticed an SUV nearby that was covered in mud, and that its driver was attempting to leave the scene. The deputy initiated a traffic stop with the driver, identified as Joseph Ballo.

The spokesperson says Ballo admitted on the scene to causing the damage intentionally with his SUV. He was charged with third degree criminal mischief, a Class E Felony, and issued an appearance ticket for Orchard Park Town Court.

Erie County Parks employees are putting together a damage assessment to determine repair costs, and will seek restitution to avoid paying for repairs with tax dollars.