Christmas preparations took a back seat Saturday as some Southtowns parents tried to track down the car that hit their children in a Buffalo parking ramp hours earlier.
Chad Beers and his fiancee, Amy Gleason, both 26, and Ashley Heinrich, 25, were among a group of friends walking to their cars inside the Augspurger Ramp, between Franklin and Pearl streets, when they were hit at about 2 a.m.
The hit-and-run occurred about a half-hour after an 18-year-old man was stabbed during an altercation inside a Chippewa Street nightclub.
Police said there was no indication Saturday that the two incidents are related.
The stabbing occurred just after 1:30 a.m. at Club Omega, 42 W. Chippewa St.
The victim, whose name wasn't released by police, was taken to Erie County Medical Center. He was in critical condition Saturday night, police reported, but is expected to recover.
Police are looking at the possibility that a fight or several fights had occurred before the stabbing.
Meanwhile, the three friends struck by the car in the nearby parking ramp all were treated at ECMC and are recuperating at home with their families.
Those families spent much of Christmas Eve trying to find out more about what happened.
While Cathy Heinrich, Ashley's mother, worked the phone, David Beers, Chad's father, drove to Buffalo on Saturday, intent on finding the car before evidence of the hit-and-run disappeared.
"That was our concern. We needed to get this out," Heinrich said.
Beers carried a copy of the accident report, in which the car was identified as a red Chevrolet Cobalt with tinted windows. Besides contacting the media, Beers said he planned to call collision and glass shops; he also carried some yellow pages torn from a telephone book.
In the midst of their efforts, the suspected car -- with damage to its windshield -- was found by police early Saturday afternoon in the 400 block of Perry Street and impounded.
"This is like a nightmare," said Cathy Heinrich. "You wake up at three in the morning to a phone call."
All three friends struck by the car originally are from the Town of Evans. Heinrich lives in Hamburg with her mother. Beers and Gleason live north of Atlanta and are in Western New York for the holidays.
Beers and Gleason got into Buffalo at about midnight, arriving on a late flight from Georgia, according to David Beers. They and several friends, including Heinrich, spent some time at clubs in the Chippewa Street area before they were hit while walking back to their cars.
The hit-and-run car, driven by a man, and with a woman in the passenger seat, initially sped by the group but couldn't leave the ramp because the exit was closed, the victims told their parents. After making a three-point turn, the car passed them again, hitting the two young women from behind.
Then, Beers was hit as he tried to prevent the car from leaving the ramp, his father said. "[Chad] was trying to get the vehicle. The guy just floored it straight at him."
"He went airborne and he hit the windshield," Beers said, relating what happened to his son.
The car broke through a barricade as the driver fled.
Beers suffered a concussion, among other injuries, and Gleason has a broken left wrist, according to David Beers. Heinrich suffered facial injuries.
"Like the doctor said, 'It's going to get worse before it gets better,' " Cathy Heinrich said. "I just thank God that it wasn't worse than it was."
Buffalo Police seek more information about both the stabbing and hit-and-run. Anyone who can help is asked to call or text message the department's anonymous tip line at 847-2255 or email the information by visiting www.bpdny.org and clicking on "Report a Tip."