Niagara Gazette

November 12, 2012

Police looking into cause of fatal Amherst crash involving Falls motorcyclist

By Jessica Bagley
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — The day after a Falls man plowed his motorcycle into a group of pedestrians in Amherst, killing two women, police are trying to determine how fast he was traveling and what exactly happened.

What police do know is that David A. Smith, 53, of Niagara Falls, veered off Tonawanda Creek Road and hit the three victims on the parallel bike path at about 3:20 p.m. The crash took place between Campbell Boulevard and Hopkins Road.

Jocelyn B. Elberson, 25, of the Town of Tonawanda, and Sheila Pelton, 81, of East Amherst were pronounced dead at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital. 

Elberson was on a walk with her new puppy, mother and aunt when the incident occurred. The family did not know the Peltons, but had let them pass them on the path just a few moments before.

"My mother and aunt stopped to talk for a moment, and Jocelyn kept walking," Brett Elberson, Jocelyn's brother said. "In less than a second, the motorcycle came out and hit her. He never tried to stop, never tried to swerve."

Born with a mild form of Williams Syndrome, a genetic disorder that is characterized by medical problems and learning disabilities, Jocelyn had recently gone through open heart surgery.

"We didn't know if she was going to make it out," Brett said. "The doctors said there was a very good possibility that she wouldn't."

But the spirited young lady was able to push through and, before Sunday's incident, was just starting to recover. She got a new puppy, and often walked the dog to exercise her new heart. 

"She had to fight her entire life to live," Brett said. "As a person, she was like an angel. Whether you were with her for one minute or 10, she would give you that smile, and it was like a light turned on inside you." 

Erie County Assistant District Attorney Kelly Omel assisted the arresting officer in obtaining a court order to draw blood from Smith after the accident. He was charged with DWI and criminally negligent homicide. Further charges may be pending as the investigation continues.

Smith was arraigned on the charges Monday at 12:05 p.m. in the hospital and is being held without bail. A court date has been set for Nov. 15 in Amherst Town Court. 

After Sunday's accident,  Sheila Pelton's husband, Foster Pelton, 79, was transported to ECMC. His condition is currently listed as serious.