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Peter G. Karamanos II, a top aide to U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Reynolds, R-Clarence, was fatally injured when his car crashed early Sunday on North Lyndonville Road in Yates, Orleans County.

Orleans County Sheriff's deputies who arrived shortly after 3 a.m. said the car apparently crashed into a telephone pole. Karamanos, 23, who was alone in the car, was pronounced dead at the scene. Police are investigating.

Karamanos joined Reynolds' staff in March 1998 as executive assistant while Reynolds was still a member of the State Assembly. When Reynolds was elected to Congress, Karamanos was promoted to the post of legislative assistant.

Karamanos, a member of a family that was long active in local Republican politics, was president of the Erie County Young Republicans and treasurer of the state organization.

His father, Peter, was a special assistant to former Erie County Executive Edward Rutkowski in the 1980s.

Karamanos "was making his own mark as a party activist and leader," Reynolds said Sunday. "His enthusiasm for politics was exceeded only by his warmth and kindness as a person, and he will be deeply missed by all those who were blessed to know him."

Gov. Pataki also recalled Karamanos as "a source of great pride to his family and all who spent time with him." Karamanos often accompanied Pataki during the governor's visits to the Buffalo area.

"Peter was a young man of boundless optimism, who had already achieved so much in such a short time. Our prayers are with his family," Pataki said.

A Buffalo native, Karamanos graduated from Bishop Timon High School in 1993. He earned an associate's degree from Hilbert College in 1995, and graduated from Buffalo State College with bachelor of arts degrees in both political science and history in 1997. He had been working toward a master's degree in political science from Buffalo State College.

In memory of Karamanos, Reynolds is establishing the Peter G. Karamanos II Scholarship Fund. Karamanos was a member of the Executive Committee of the Erie County Republican Committee and a committee member for both the City of Buffalo and South Ward Republican committees. He also was a member of the New Millennium Group. He previously worked for University District Council Member Kevin J. Helfer and the Erie County Board of Elections.

In addition to his father, Karamanos is survived by his mother, the former Lillian Moritz; a sister, Nicole; and his maternal grandmother, Clara Moritz. A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Tuesday in Hellenic Orthodox Church of the Annunciation, 146 W. Utica St. Prayers will be said at 9 in Ray O'Connell Funeral Home, 2286 South Park Ave. Burial will be in Holy Cross Cemetery, Lackawanna.

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