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Hitchhiker, two on motorcycle killed in two separate crashes

Three people were killed in two separate accidents early Friday and late Thursday.

A man and woman from Hamburg who were on a motorcycle were killed early Friday when they collided with a car pulling out of a bank parking lot on Walden Avenue in Cheektowaga.

And a Lockport man who apparently was hitchhiking on Millersport Highway late Thursday was struck and killed by a pickup truck.

James Drozdowski, 44, and Christine L. Aman, 45, were pronounced dead at the scene of the crash that occurred at around 1:30 a.m. on Walden, between Harlem Road and Galleria Drive. Drozdowski was the operator of the motorcycle.

The car was pulling out of the HSBC Bank parking lot when the vehicles collided, police said, and the motorcycle was eastbound at the time of the accident.

The driver of the car, a 2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser, was identified as Karol Olkowski of Cheektowaga.

"It appears to be a tragic and unfortunate accident," said Cheektowaga Police Capt. James Speyer.

Police have not charged Olkowski, Speyer said, though it is possible he could be ticketed for failure to yield as the investigation progresses. Olkowski told police he never saw the motorcycle coming.

"We have to look at whether he was speeding, we have to look at whether the motorcycle had a light on, before we could charge him with something like that," Speyer said.

Speyer said Olkowski was not under the influence of alcohol. He said police would know whether the victims were under the influence after they receive results from toxicology tests.

Police are trying to obtain video tapes of the crash from surrounding businesses, Speyer said, and anyone with information is asked to call Cheektowaga Police at 686-3510.

In an earlier accident, Jason Murphy, 36, was struck and killed at about 10:45 p.m. Thursday while he was apparently hitchhiking on the 4600 block of Millersport Highway, Amherst police said Friday.

Murphy was hit by a pickup truck driven by John Benedetti, also of Lockport, according to Capt. Patrick McKenna, commander of the Amherst Police Accident Investigation Unit. The accident occurred at about 10:45 p.m. on a rural section of the highway near the border with Niagara County.

Murphy was hit on the northbound side of the highway. No charges have been filed, but the investigation is continuing and traffic officers urge anyone who may have witnessed the accident to contact them at 689-1311.