Niagara Gazette

November 23, 2012

Driver released from 37-day stint at county jail hours before hit-and-run

By Timothy Chipp
Niagara Gazette

NIAGARA FALLS —  

It didn’t take Niagara Falls Police long to locate the man they believe responsible for a hit-and-run accident in the 9400 block of Niagara Falls Boulevard Wednesday evening.

Police say at about 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Mark Brown, 43, 821 87th St., hit a pedestrian standing in the middle of Niagara Falls Boulevard, reversed his car and drove away from the scene without waiting for emergency responders.

The victim, later identified as John Watson, 58, was knocked to the pavement. Watson suffered head and internal injuries as well as a broken leg. He was taken to the Erie County Medical Center for treatment. He was listed in stable condition. 

Officers credited witnesses to the accident relaying the vehicle’s license plate to them, which they located at Brown’s address late Wednesday evening.

Niagara Falls Police Officer James VanEgmond told Channel 4 News, “One of the witnesses followed the vehicle for approximately three quarters of a mile. When we did get the license plate from the vehicle it shows an older model Chevy Monte Carlo or Chevy Lumina is what they described it as, the witness. It was maroon in color. It has front end damage and the windshield was also damaged.”

According to reports, the vehicle was missing its windshield and had recently been washed before officers arrived on scene. They quickly began looking for the driver and reportedly found him hiding in the backyard of a neighboring property.

Brown reportedly had multiple cuts on his arms and had blood all over his clothes, but he told officers he had cut himself shaving with a Niagara County Jail razor earlier in the day, where he’d been locked up for 37 days before being released at 4 p.m. Wednesday. He also told police glass fragments found in his clothes were from an incident before he was jailed and he was wearing the same clothes.

Officers reported Brown appeared intoxicated at the scene, but refused to submit to any field sobriety tests or a breath test because he said he wasn’t driving his vehicle. He was transported to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center for treatment.

Officers reported finding the windshield to the vehicle behind the garage on the property and reportedly found hairs matching the head of the accident victim in the windshield.

Brown was charged with second-degree vehicular assault, driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of a motor vehicle accident, evidence tampering and traffic violations.