State Sen. George D. Maziarz was unhurt Monday night when his vehicle was struck from behind by a hit-and-run driver at a stoplight at Pine Avenue and Hyde Park Boulevard.
The suspected driver, Bryan M. Baxter, 24, of Adam Street, Lockport, was caught by police a block from the scene after Maziarz, R-Newfane, was able to get a license plate number for police.
Maziarz said that the crash happened at about 6:30 p.m. when he was on his way to do a Webcast interview at Niagara Broadcast Network. Everything happened across the street from the studio.
The collision pushed the senator's vehicle into the intersection. Maziarz said he thought the driver would stop, but instead he drove around him and hit a pickup even harder, causing more damage to the other vehicle. The driver of the second vehicle also was unhurt, police said.
"This is when I zeroed in on the license plate," Maziarz told The Buffalo News on Tuesday. He said he kept thinking that the driver was going to pull over, but instead after hitting both vehicles he kept right on going.
Baxter was "obviously intoxicated" when police brought him back to the scene a short time later, Maziarz said.
Traffic Capt. Salvatore Pino said Baxter had been driving the 2002 Dodge because he was repairing it for the owner.
"[Baxter] drove the vehicle from the scene of the accident to Grand Avenue, a block from the scene, and was found walking," Pino said. "He admitted to [the crash] and was charged."
Baxter was charged with driving while intoxicated, driving while his license was suspended and leaving the scene of an accident.
Maziarz said he only made it in time for the last five minutes of the hourlong show, but in time to learn that the reporters had been talking about the crash during their broadcast.
Niagara Broadcast Network staffers were among those interviewed by police about the crash, said Maziarz, adding that he felt well enough to be back to work at 8 a.m. Tuesday.