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Speed, mechanical issues, wetness cited in fatal crash of pickup truck

A combination of speed, mechanical issues and wet street conditions are being blamed in a crash that took the life of a Niagara Falls man.

Police Traffic Capt. Salvatore Pino said Monday that the crash remains under investigation but that all three factors likely contributed to the crash that killed Matthew S. Sklarski, 24, of 91st Street, on Friday afternoon.

Sklarski suffered severe head injuries after his truck crashed into a telephone pole at Tuscarora Road and Niagara Falls Boulevard at about 4:30 p.m. Doctors at Erie County Medical Center performed immediate surgery, but Sklarski was pronounced dead Saturday morning.

Sklarski's GMC pickup hydroplaned as he tried to turn right from Niagara Falls Boulevard onto Tuscarora Road, Pino said. The truck then spun out and hit a utility pole across the street, almost bending the pickup in two around the pole.

The crash occurred during a rainstorm, Pino said, and the tires on the pickup were "not that good."

"Speed was definitely a factor in this, as well as what could be the condition of his tires, as well as how wet the road was," Pino said. "He probably could have gone that fast on a dry road with those tires or on a wet road with good tires.

"We have not had a chance to calculate [the speed], but you can tell from years of experience that he was moving at a pretty good speed."

The Police Department's Traffic Division will look into those factors, as well as other equipment failure or mechanical issues that also might have played a part in the crash, Pino said.

Sklarski is a nephew of former Niagara County Legislator Danny W. Sklarski, a Town of Niagara Democrat who resigned in April to fill a vacant seat on the Niagara Town Board.