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Falls police to enhance car video in fatal hit-run Store owners asked to check their tapes

City police investigators plan to enhance videotape they have of a car that was involved in a fatal hit-and-run crash early Sunday, but they also are asking that surveillance videos be checked by owners of stores along the route the car took before and after the crash.

Traffic Capt. Salvatore Pino said Tuesday that police are still searching for the driver who killed Mark Milczarski, 38, and injured another pedestrian, Eduardo M. Ortiz, 40, as they crossed the street at 19th Street and Walnut Avenue toward a convenience store just before 1 a.m. Sunday.

The vehicle involved in the crash -- a red Ford compact -- was driven to the Tuscarora Indian Reservation afterward and set on fire.

"The car was not stolen," Pino told The Buffalo News on Tuesday. "We know all about the car, except who was driving the car."

Two officers are working on the case during the day and two officers at night, Pino said. They have lots of leads, as well as a video surveillance tape from the convenience store, and have been asking store owners along the routes to the Tuscarora reservation to check surveillance cameras that might have caught something on tape.

There are "remarkable video technologies" available to police, Pino said. He said officers intend to enhance the videotape they have in hand soon to see if they can determine who was driving and if a passenger was in the car at the time of the crash.

"We have lots and lots of leads," Pino added. "You never know what is going to pan out, but I do believe we are going to solve this."

Milczarski and Ortiz, both of Ferry Avenue, had left a party and were headed to the convenience store to buy beer when they were struck. They had just stepped off the curb. The car that struck them headed down Pine Avenue toward Hyde Park Boulevard, Pino said.

At 2:30 a.m. Sunday, Lewiston police and Niagara County sheriff's deputies found a car matching the description of the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run on Blacknose Spring Road on the Tuscarora Reservation. The Pekin Volunteer Fire Department extinguished the fire. The license plates had been removed.

Pino said the vehicle was taken to the Niagara Falls Police Department for processing and a large amount of evidence was collected at the scene.

There are a lot of route options between the two points that officers have traveled, seeking more video surveillance tapes, the traffic captain said.

Ortiz, who was taken to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center with non-life-threatening head, hip and pelvis injuries, does not remember being struck, Pino said. He said officers plan to interview him again soon.

Anyone with information on the crash is asked to call police at 286-4711.

e-mail: nfischer@buffnews.com

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