Charges sought in fatal July 4th crash

Photo by RobShotsFamily and friends of Precious Cox protested outside police headquarters in Niagara Falls on Tuesday. They were calling attention to the fact charges haven’t been filed in the July 4 crash that killed the 27-year-old city woman.

They stood outside Falls Police headquarters Tuesday morning, holding up signs and chanting. “No Precious, No Peace,” the dozen or so protestors called out. “Justice for Precious,” they chanted.

Precious Cox’s family and friends don’t understand why, after a month, no one has been charged in connection with her death. The 27-year-old Falls woman was killed in a grinding crash in the early morning hours of July 4.

Cox and three other women were in a 2009 Dodge Avenger when it slammed into a home at Porter Road and Hyde Park Boulevard. 

Investigators said the Dodge was traveling west on Porter Road and continued straight across Hyde Park Boulevard, striking the front porch of a house in the 2000 block of the boulevard. The impact left Cox, who had been sitting in a rear passenger-side seat of the vehicle, severely injured.

She was rushed to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, where she later died from her injuries.

The 24-year-old driver of the vehicle, also a Falls resident, was extricated by Falls firefighters and transported by ambulance to the Erie County Medical Center for treatment. She has since been released.

A female front-seat passenger was also hospitalized at ECMC and has now been released. A female passenger who was in the rear seat on the driver’s side of the Avenger was taken to ECMC that morning and treated and released.

Cox’s mother, Jacqueline Roache, told photographers at the protest she doesn’t understand why the driver of the car has not faced criminal charges yet. She told them the driver “is still free” but her daughter, “is in the grave.”

In the aftermath of the fatal accident, the Falls Police Crash Management Unit investigators said charges were pending. But investigators and prosecutors say changes in the state’s criminal case discovery rules have complicated how and when charges are filed.

“We have everyone on our vehicular crime team working on this case,” Niagara County District Attorney Caroline Wojtaszek said. “I appreciate the frustration, but it is important for our office and law enforcement to get all of the test results in order to put together a strong case.”

Wojtaszek noted that the proper charges in the case are “predicated on the test results.” 

“Precious Cox’s family and friends have suffered an immeasurable loss,” the D.A. sad. “As soon as we have all the information, we will move forward in full consultation with the family.”

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