The driver of the car that struck and killed two pedestrians on an unlighted two-lane road in Wheatfield in late August has been charged with reckless driving, imprudent speed and unlawful possession of marijuana, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department said Saturday.
Carly Marrs, 20, of North Tonawanda will appear in Wheatfield Town Court on Oct. 26 to answer the charges, the most serious being reckless driving, a misdemeanor.
Marrs struck Melanie J. Aronow, 18, of Amherst and Quience Harper, 18, of Lockport, in the area of 6680 Shawnee Road in the Town of Wheatfield shortly after midnight Aug. 20. Both died at the scene. A third pedestrian, Quincy Bird, 20, of Lockport, also was struck and is recovering from his injuries.
A large party was taking place in the area of the accident and several cars were parked on both sides of Shawnee Road, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Criminal Division and Accident Investigation Unit determined.
All three pedestrians were standing near the southbound fog line when they were stuck by Marrs’ vehicle. The cars parked along the road prevented them from walking or standing off the road, investigators said.
Marrs reported that she had left a friend’s house in Wilson and was traveling home to North Tonawanda at the time of the accident. She told deputies that she never saw the pedestrians standing near or on the edge of the road.
The investigation revealed that all three pedestrians were either going to or leaving the party on Shawnee Road. Investigators tried but were not able to interview the owners of the house where the party occurred, “as the owners retained a lawyer following the crash,” the Sheriff’s Department said.
Marrs’ vehicle was traveling at or near the posted speed limit of 55 mph at the time of the collision, the investigation determined. Damage to Marrs’ vehicle indicates all three pedestrians were struck by the passenger side of the 2006 SUV.
The two-lane road was dark and there was no road lighting in the area of the crash.
Marrs was given roadside sobriety tests and drug recognition tests shortly after the crash. She passed all tests given by a drug recognition expert, indicating she was not impaired.
She also voluntarily submitted a sample of her blood for toxicology review. The Niagara County Sheriff’s Forensic Lab tested Marrs’ blood and the results verified the conclusions of the drug recognition expert.
Although Marrs “had indications” that she had used marijuana prior to the crash, the levels found in her blood were very low, indicating no impairment at the time of the crash, the department said. The lab further determined that there was no presence of alcohol in her blood.
During the inspection of Marrs’ vehicle, a pipe commonly used to smoke marijuana was located inside the vehicle. A lab test indicated the pipe contained marijuana, the department said.