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Cause of deadly crash sought

Niagara County investigators are still trying to determine what occurred in a head-on collision that took the life of two drivers Friday, but they suspect one of the drivers may have swerved just before the crash to avoid an animal that had wandered onto Beebe Road.
"We can speculate all day long, but we may never know why he crossed the line," Sheriff's Investigator Charles Baker said of Clarford Tapper, 53, whose car struck a vehicle driven by Deanna Dormagen, 59, of Ransomville, coming from the opposite direction. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene.

A service was held Tuesday in Ransomville for Dormagen. Services for Tapper will be at 6:30 p.m. today in Rutland-Corwin Funeral Home in Newfane.

Dormagen, a mother of six, was heading to work in the cafeteria of Delphi Thermal Systems. .

Tapper, a native of Jamaica, was married and worked on Voelpel Farms on North Beebe Road, several miles from the crash scene. He also lived on the farm as a seasonal farm worker. His employer, John H. Voelpel, said Tapper was the father of six or seven children.

Baker said both drivers were wearing seat belts and Tampper had an air bag but said the force of the crash was like "hitting a brick wall at 110 miles per hour."
He said speed does not appear to be a factor because both drivers were going about the speed limit on the 55-mph road.


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