Niagara Gazette

Crime

May 9, 2013

Cause sought in fatal Youngstown accident

Niagara Gazette — YOUNGSTOWN — Niagara County Sheriff's Department investigators say they hope the results of an autopsy may explain what caused a driver to run a stop sign and plunge into the Niagara RIver in the village of Youngstown Thursday morning.

Investigators also said they did not expect to release the name of the victim until later today. They did, however, confirm the driver was a "local" man.

The autopsy is expected to take place later today. Toxicology testing on the victim could take several weeks to complete.

The results of the autopsy and the testing could reveal if a "medical condition" led to the crash.

The accident occurred just before 7 a.m. Thursday. Witnesses said a red ford Explorer, traveling west on Church Street, failed to stop at a stop sign at Main Street. The SUV smashed through a guardrail and continued about 100 feet down an embankment before flipping over in relatively shallow water. Sheriff's deputies said when they arrived on the scene, they found the driver "unresponsive" in the front seat of the SUV.

The driver was pronounced dead at the scene. Sheriff's officials said Thursday night that they were still in the process of notifying members of the victim's family.

A similar fatal crash happened at the site in February 2008.

A Lockport man was driving east on Church Street and went straight through the “T” intersection with Main Street. Two men discovered the car lodged up against a tree and Arnold P. Barnett's body a short distance away.

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