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Fri., Oct. 9
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Fallen Lewis jail guard recognized nearly 56 years after his death


BEAVER FALLS — Nearly 56 years after his death, fallen Lewis County jail guard Patrick J. Fogarty has been officially recognized for his service and sacrifice.

A few days after being formally added to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C., Mr. Fogarty — who died of a heart attack in August 1958 shortly after being attacked and beaten by three inmates at the county jail — received special recognition in his home county during the fourth annual Lewis County Police Appreciation ceremony at Beaver River Central School.

“He was probably never forgotten,” Lewis County District Attorney Leanne K. Moser said. “The story was told. But he was never honored. It’s time that we honor him.”

Ms. Moser recognized Times staff writer Christina Scanlon for writing a story about the historic event and providing background information needed to get Mr. Fogarty added to the national memorial. Ms. Scanlon and county officials, particularly now-retired Deputy Michael K. Leviker, conducted extensive research for the story and memorial application process.

“I’m sure in 1958 in Lewis County, it was beyond shocking, as it would be today,” Ms. Moser said.

However, at the time, mechanisms were not in place to recognize fallen officers as they are today, she said.

Following their attack on Mr. Fogarty, the three inmates escaped the jail but were captured less than two hours later in a cornfield just outside the village. The three were found guilty of manslaughter and served terms of 10 to 20 years in state prison.

Kenneth K. Flint, who aided in the capture, at Friday’s ceremony recounted how he and Jimmy Wilder were returning to the village from an outing in Indian River when they saw the three men cross the street in front of them. With the whistle going off, they checked in at the sheriff’s station, found out what happened and led police on a high-speed drive to the cornfield where they believed the suspects were headed.

“I was 17 years old,” Mr. Flint said. “I thought that was pretty cool.”

Between threats of violence from Mr. Wilder and law officers saying they would “be filling the corn piece with lead,” the three inmates surrendered peacefully, he said.

Afterward, Mr. Flint said he was changing a now-bald tire when one police officer threatened to cite him with speeding, but another officer said to leave him alone.

“The statute of limitations on that speeding ticket is over,” Ms. Moser said following Mr. Flint’s account. “And, if not, I know the DA.”

Mr. Fogarty’s great-nephew, Michael Hogan of Bridgeport, was able to attend Friday night’s ceremony with his wife, Patricia, after learning of the ceremony the night before.

“It was a great honor,” he said afterward. “They did a nice job.”

Friday’s ceremony also included a tribute to officers who had died in the past year. Those included Jefferson County Corrections Officer John P. Gregory III, Jefferson County police dog Ram and Bruce Davey, a retired Lowville police officer and state trooper.

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