CAMBRIA – The day after a Niagara County Sheriff’s deputy reportedly ran a stop sign at an accident-plagued intersection and T-boned a Jeep Thursday night, killing the Jeep’s driver, questions remained about the incident and residents who live nearby were demanding the state do something to make the road safer.
Glenn T. Annalora, 61, of Lockport who was driving the Jeep, was pronounced dead at Eastern Niagara Hospital in Lockport, officials said. His wife, Mary A. Annalora, 58, and Deputy James H. Bissell III were transported by Mercy Flight to Erie County Medical Center. Mrs. Annalora was treated for internal injuries. The deputy’s injuries were not believed to be life-threatening, officials said.
Several questions about the deputy remain unanswered Friday:
• How long has he been with the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office?
• Was Bissell – whose overhead emergency lights were activated – responding to a call or an emergency?
• How fast was he going through the intersection?
Repeated efforts to contact Sheriff James R. Voutour and Undersheriff Michael J. Filicetti were not successful Friday.
The collision occurred shortly after 7 p.m. Thursday at the intersection of Ridge Road and Route 104 and 93, one of Cambria’s main intersections. The intersection has been the site of numerous accidents over the years.
The impact of the crash sent the Jeep rolling several times before it landed on a nearby lawn, leaving a trail of parts in its wake.
On Friday, several residents who live near the intersection expressed concern over the accident-riddled crossroads.
Mary Schultz, who lives on North Ridge two houses from the intersection, said she heard the deputy’s patrol car pass her house Thursday evening as she was in the kitchen washing dinner dishes.
“I could hear his car fly by the house,” she said. “I’ve lived here nine years. You know when it’s a sheriff’s car.”
By the time she heard the sirens on Thursday night, Schultz said she was drying the dishes, and with a towel still in her hand, she ran out of her house to see what had happened.
“Everybody was out,” she recalled. “I stood on the corner praying. It was just so sad. To actually see what we saw last night was very disturbing.”
Volunteer firefighters from three companies – Cambria, Newfane and Wright’s Corners – responded to the scene. First responders were observed administering CPR to the driver of the Jeep, said one witness.
Schultz is a manager at Store Room Self Storage located at the intersection on 4487 Ridge.
“I can sit in my office and watch the vehicles go through the intersection,” she said. “A lot don’t come to a complete stop.”
She said she would like to see the 55 mph speed limit reduced.
Sandy Dean, who has lived on Ridge Road for 75 years, can’t bear to sit outside on the porch, calling it nerve-wracking to watch all the near misses.
“It sounded like a bomb going off,” Dean said about Thursday’s accident.
Dean lives across the street from 4524 Ridge – where North Ridge becomes Plank Road – and where the Jeep came to rest on the front lawn of Roger Taylor. Deep ruts were in the grass and Taylor’s two school-aged grandchildren were picking up car pieces that they found all over the property.
Taylor said this was not the first crash the Taylor family had to deal with since his family moved there in 1999.
On Oct. 24, 2013, a car sideswiped Taylor’s house after it swerved to avoid an oncoming vehicle. That accident left three people injured.
“We have accidents here all the time. It’s just a constant thing,” said Taylor. “This is the second death I’ve seen. In one, a motorcycle wrecked in our backyard. He lost control at the intersection.”
Taylor said he is afraid to go out and cut his grass at the busy intersection of Ridge Road/Route 104 and 93.
A re-configuration and widening of the road has not helped, but instead seems to have encouraged drivers to go faster, said both Taylor and Dean.
“All you have to do is stand here and the news will make itself with this intersection,” said Taylor. “The state has got to get on the ball. All the neighbors around here have been to board meetings.”
Residents would like see a traffic light, such as a red flashing light and a yellow warning light, installed at the intersection.
Investigators are looking to talk to a possible witness: the driver of a vehicle that was in the area at about 7 p.m. and had yielded to a patrol car with its emergency lights activated.
Anyone with information about that vehicle is asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 438-3327.
News Staff Reporter Janice L. Habuda contributed to this report email firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com