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DEPUTIES INVESTIGATE FAKE IDS AFTER FATAL CRASH

While investigating a car crash that killed two young people and seriously injured a third last month, Erie County sheriff's deputies made a discovery:

All three victims, who were at a beer party before the crash, had fake identification, and two of the IDs may have been obtained through the Internet.

Deputy David Karney said the department is working with the FBI to track down who sold the IDs to the victims.

Stephan L. Eckrote Jr., 19, and Kelly M. Chittenden, 20, both of Kenmore, were killed in the Sept. 9 crash on Zoar Valley Road, just outside Springville. Miss Chittenden's brother, Arthur, also of Kenmore, was injured.

The crash occurred after the car, driven by Eckrote, went out of control and struck a tree.

Arthur Chittenden was charged Wednesday with possessing a fake driver's license.

Also Wednesday, deputies announced charges were filed against minors who attended the same beer-drinking picnic as the victims.

Michael Kreher, 20, of East Hazeltine Avenue, Kenmore, was charged with unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle and driving after hours with a conditional license.

David E. McManus, 19, of Parkwood Avenue, Kenmore, was charged with driving without insurance, improper license plates and possessing a fake driver's license.

All three are scheduled to appear Oct. 14 in Concord Town Court.

Karney said deputies were tipped to the false IDs by other minors who had been at the picnic.

He said Arthur Chittenden and Eckrote were believed to have gotten fake IDs for about $30 each through the Internet from a supplier in Louisiana.

Miss Chittenden had the identification of a college student whose purse had been stolen, he said.

Tracking down the supplier is difficult because of the number of Internet sources, Karney said. When deputies went online seeking fake IDs, they were swamped with responses.

Undersheriff Gerald Mack, nonetheless, remains optimistic that the supplier, or suppliers, will be found within the next few weeks.

"It's just going to take time," he said.

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