BUFFALO, N.Y. — UPDATE: All remaining charges against Christopher H. Koch were dismissed by Buffalo City Court Judge Andrew C. LoTempio on September 29, 2022.
The CEO of the New Era Cap Company is accused of trying to hit a man with his vehicle outside a North Buffalo restaurant.
Christopher H. Koch, 61, of Buffalo was arraigned in Buffalo City Court on one count of reckless endangerment in the first degree, which is a class D felony.
The maximum penalty upon conviction would be up to 7 years in prison.
However, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn indicated that Koch, due to a clean criminal record, would be unlikely to receive such a sentence even if he were to be found guilty.
Investigators say Koch and his girlfriend's ex-husband were involved in an argument on Saturday in the parking lot of Oliver's Restaurant on Delaware Avenue near Delham Avenue.
"It was verbal in nature but at some point, the victim allegedly got out of his car while Mr. Koch was in his car and Mr. Koch allegedly drove his vehicle at the victim," Flynn said.
The victim was able to jump out of the way to avoid being hit but did suffer an injury to his hand, before Koch's Cadillac Escalade then hit the victim's pickup truck, causing damage to the passenger side.
Prosecutors allege that Koch engaged in conduct that created a grave risk of death to another person by intentionally driving his vehicle toward the victim.
"If you are in a situation where you allegedly drive your car at another human being, the possibility is that you could hit that person and possibly run them over. In this case, right here, thank god it didn't happen," Flynn said
According to a deposition attached to this criminal complaint against Koch, the ex-husband, identified in court papers as Daniel C. Parisi, said he was driving along Delaware Avenue when he spotted his former wife and Koch at the restaurant.
"I stopped my truck and put it into the park on Delaware and exchanged words with Chris. At some point, he called me an (expletive deleted) and I got out and said to him 'let's settle this like men'. As I was walking toward his black Escalade, Chris then drove right at me. I was able to jump out of the way, but I did get hit and injured my left hand."
Flynn says the encounter, however, was not happenstance.
"It was not a chance encounter. The victim knew that they were having dinner at the restaurant and the victim allegedly came to the restaurant," Flynn said.
Flynn describes Koch, who was issued an appearance ticket, as having been cooperative with police at the scene.
He would not comment on whether Koch said anything about feeling threatened.
He'll only say that the evidence, which he also wouldn't elaborate on, showed that Koch drove his vehicle at the alleged victim, and does not appear to support any suggestion that he was driving hastily to escape the situation.
"The charge mirrors allegedly how this played out," Flynn said.
Koch is scheduled to return to court on May 25 for a felony hearing. He was released on his own recognizance. If convicted, Koch could face up to seven years in prison.
An order of protection has been issued on behalf of the victim.