CAMBRIA – Niagara County Sheriff’s Deputy James H. Bissell III, who was driving a police vehicle involved in a crash that killed a Lockport man on Oct. 22, is expected to resign Friday, according to Niagara County Sheriff James R. Voutour.
Bissell never returned to his job following the crash at Plank and Ridge roads.
Voutour said he was unable to comment on the case, and deferred to Niagara County District Attorney Michael J. Violante, who would say only that the crash remains under investigation.
Attorney Thomas H. Burton was retained last month to represent Bissell in the case.
Bissell went through the stop sign at the intersection and T-boned a Jeep driven by Glenn T. Annalora, 61, who died shortly after the crash in Eastern Niagara Hospital, Lockport. His wife, Mary A., 58, was treated for internal injuries. Bissell was taken by Mercy Flight for treatment of head injuries in Erie County Medical Center.
According to Niagara County records, Bissell started in his new job as deputy on Sept. 13, just a month and a half before the fatal crash.
Questions unanswered are how fast the police vehicle was going at the time of the crash, whether Bissell was responding to a call and whether emergency lights and sirens were activated.
The impact of the crash, shortly after 7 p.m., sent the Jeep rolling several times, ending up in Roger Taylor’s yard at 4524 Ridge Road.
Taylor said after the crash that because of the intersection, he feels in danger when he mows his lawn. He said a car sideswiped his house in October 2013 after swerving to avoid an oncoming vehicle. Three people were injured in that crash.
“We have accidents here all the time. It’s just a constant thing,” Taylor said. “This is the second death I’ve seen. In one, a motorcycle wrecked in our backyard. He lost control at the intersection.”
Sandy Dean, who has lived on Ridge Road for 75 years, spoke of the intersection’s danger following the crash.
She said she won’t sit on the front porch of her home in the summer, calling it “nerve-wracking” to watch all the near-misses.
Taylor said a reconfiguration and widening of the intersections seems to have resulted in people driving faster. He said he and his neighbors have been to Cambria Town Board meetings to try to get the state to make a change, including warning lights to slow drivers down.
In the meantime, Taylor has taken the only action he can: Dozens of tires surround the two-story house, as if awaiting the next crash.