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Two charged with DWI in crash of three vehicles

Two drivers and a child, all from Niagara Falls, were injured in a three-vehicle collision on the Highland Avenue bridge Monday night, and two of the drivers were charged with driving while intoxicated, city police said.

A third driver was unhurt.

Traffic Capt. Salvatore Pino said the Highland Avenue bridge was closed for about three hours after the crash, which occurred just before 11:30 p.m., so rescue workers could handle the injured and the Police Department's crash management team could conduct an investigation.

Blasina L. Mathews, 30, who was not charged, and her 4-year-old son, both of Ninth Street, were traveling north on the bridge in a 2000 Chevrolet when her vehicle was struck head-on by a 1997 Oldsmobile being driven by 35-year-old Thomas Altman of McKoon Avenue.

Altman was traveling south in the northbound lane, Pino said.

Mathews' vehicle then was struck by a 2003 Ford sport utility vehicle being driven south in the southbound lane by Arnold S. Walker Jr., 46, of 18th Street, police said.

Walker was uninjured. Mathews had to be extricated from her vehicle by city Fire Department rescue workers and was taken by ambulance to Erie County Medical Center for surgery. Her son was treated in Women and Children's Hospital for a shoulder injury and released, police said.

Altman also was taken to ECMC with severe injuries, Pino said. Mathews and Altman remained hospitalized Tuesday. Mathews was listed in stable condition and Altman was in fair condition, a hospital official said.

Pino said that both Altman and Walker were charged with DWI and reckless driving.

Altman was additionally charged with driving left of center and unsafe passing, and Walker was additionally charged with consumption of an alcoholic beverage in a motor vehicle and driving an unregistered motor vehicle.

Pino said additional charges may be pending and that the investigation is continuing.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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