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DWI CHARGED AS CRASH KILLS 2, INJURES 2

Two passengers were killed early today when their speeding car slammed into a sport utility vehicle driven by an off-duty Buffalo detective sergeant at Bailey Avenue and East Ferry Street.

Police have charged the speeding car's driver with driving while intoxicated, imprudent speed and passing a red light. More serious charges are pending.

Anthony McCrayer, 20, of Keystone Street, Buffalo, and James Elias, 29, of Richmond, Va., were pronounced dead at the scene, according to the Buffalo Police Accident Investigation Unit. Elias had to be pried out of the front seat of the 1997 GEO sedan.

The driver of that car, Michael Thomas, 24, of Phyllis Avenue, was charged with DWI and other charges, according to Lt. Robert J. Penders, commander of the Accident Investigation Unit. Thomas was being treated for leg injuries in Erie County Medical Center.

The driver of the other vehicle, Detective Sgt. Danny Owens, 48, also was taken to ECMC, where he, too, was being treated for leg injuries in the emergency room late this morning.

Police officials said Owens suffered a possible fractured hip and a possible fractured collarbone.

According to police reports, Thomas was heading south on Bailey Avenue at a high rate of speed at about 4:30 a.m., when his car slammed into the northbound vehicle driven by Owens, who was attempting to make a left turn onto East Ferry Street.

"Owens never made it through the intersection, indicating that the other car was traveling at a high rate of speed," Penders said. "There were no skid marks from either vehicle."

Accident Investigators Daniel Sullivan and Michael Patanella still were piecing together the details late this morning, but a preliminary investigation suggested that Owens may have had the green arrow allowing him to turn left onto East Ferry Street, police said.

"The driver of the car had been at a bar earlier," Patanella said.

More serious charges are pending against Thomas, as investigators await the results of a blood-alcohol test to determine his blood alcohol concentration level. Armed with those results, police plan to consult with the Erie County district attorney's office about pursuing possible vehicular homicide charges.

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