SANBORN – The victim of a fatal head-on collision Wednesday afternoon has been identified as Valerie Caprio, 41, of Sanborn, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office said Thursday.
Caprio was killed in a head-on collision after her westbound car drove into the eastbound lane on Saunders Settlement Road, near Baer Road. The driver in the other vehicle, Peter A. Campbell, 63, of the City of Tonawanda was extricated and airlifted by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center.
Niagara County sheriff deputies said they believe Caprio had been involved in a hit-and-run accident only a short time earlier.
Sheriff Capt. Bruce Elliott said a few minutes before the fatal collision, authorities received a call about a hit-and-run accident in Cambria.
A car hit a street sign and a power pole – taking out a signal – at Saunders Settlement and Campbell Boulevard, about five miles down the road. Elliott said the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run matched the description of the Toyota Camry involved in the fatal crash.
After hitting the pole, deputies said, she continued westbound on Saunders Settlement Road and shortly after she passed Baer Road, swerved directly into the path of an oncoming Kia Optima at about 1:20 p.m.
Witnesses told investigators at the scene that Caprio “jerked over” into the path of the oncoming sedan, according to Sheriff James R. Voutour.
Voutour said there were no skid marks at the scene, meaning she had made no attempt to stop. The accident investigation was ongoing, but he said due to the condition of both vehicles, it does not appear that speed was a factor.
The sheriff called the investigation a “two-pronged approach” and said the department’s criminal investigation bureau will be working with the accident investigation bureau to attempt to determine why the woman had been driving recklessly.
“At this point we have no idea whether it was drugs or distracted driving or medical,” Elliott said. “Our investigation will shed some light on this.”
Elliott said investigators do not believe Caprio was texting.
Voutour said Campbell suffered serious injuries, including broken bones in his legs, ankles and arms. He was in critical condition in the ECMC trauma unit on Thursday
The Sanborn and Pekin fire departments assisted at the scene.