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Ex-deputy hurt in crash; wife dies of injuries

The wife of a retired Erie County sheriff's deputy died Friday of injuries suffered Sunday in a motorcycle crash in Myrtle Beach, S.C., near the couple's home.

Debra A. Carlson, 43, of Longs, S.C., formerly of East Aurora, was removed from life support Friday in the Medical University of South Carolina Medical Center in Charleston, S.C.

She was a passenger on the motorcycle operated by her husband, David R. Carlson, 52, a retired deputy and former police officer in Evans and Angola. He was released Friday from the Charleston hospital, where he was treated for a broken pelvis.

The Carlsons had returned to South Carolina from Western New York a day earlier. They apparently were heading home from North Myrtle Beach, about 10 miles away, to pick up their car and meet friends for dinner.

According to reports, a 16-year-old girl pulled out into the path of the motorcycle. Although Carlson swerved, he was unable to avoid the collision.

Since retiring to South Carolina, the Carlsons frequently returned to Western New York. His brother, James R. Carlson, is a former mayor of Angola.

The Carlsons had returned to the Buffalo area for the Nov. 9 funeral of Michael V. Walters, the former county commissioner of emergency services and former Angola mayor who had been a longtime friend and fellow motorcycle enthusiast.

"Dave came back quite a bit. He had quite a number of friends here," said Sheriff Timothy B. Howard, who had known Carlson for 25 years. "I don't know that there's anybody, anywhere who doesn't like him."

Carlson, who spent 26 years in law enforcement, had been shot Oct. 20, 1989, when he and Deputy William Dillemuth attempted to serve a City of Tonawanda drug warrant at the Clarence home of Rudolph L. Manzella. Manzella opened fire with a high-powered rifle, killing Dillemuth and seriously wounding Carlson.

He later won a $1.8 million settlement with the City of Tonawanda, which had failed to warn the Sheriff's Office that Manzella might be armed and dangerous.


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