In the moments after his gray Chevy Malibu careened off the Scajaquada Expressway Saturday and struck two children and their mother in Delaware Park, killing a 3-year-old boy, the driver got out of his car, dropped to his knees and wept, witnesses said.
It was horrific enough. But more layers of last weekend’s tragedy came to light Tuesday as the name of the driver, Christian P. Myers, 28, was confirmed by two law enforcement sources.
According to his pastor, Myers suffers from narcolepsy and epilepsy. Authorities are investigating whether he had a narcoleptic episode or a seizure at the time of the crash.
The pastor also said Myers regularly works an overnight, weekend shift of 12 to 13 hours and may have been on his way home when the incident occurred.
Myers told police he may have fallen asleep at the wheel and lost control of his car.
“I know he’s devastated by the whole situation,” said Kenneth Wilson, executive pastor at Victory Assembly of God Church, a Pentecostal church in Riverside.
Myers, who has been described as “distraught,” is receiving psychiatric treatment in Erie County Medical Center.
He was questioned by Buffalo police and has been cooperating with investigators. A sobriety test was administered at the scene, and Myers’ blood was drawn. He has not been charged in the fatality.
Buffalo police are awaiting the results of a toxicology test to determine whether charges will be placed against Myers, a law enforcement source confirmed.
Police also are waiting for the results of forensic testing on the vehicle Myers was driving when he struck the two children and their mother.
As investigators try to find out more about Myers, they also are trying to determine why the car went off the expressway, crossed over a grassy median and struck Maksym Sugorovskiy, 3, his 5-year-old sister, Stephanie, and their mother, Mary, 32, on the Ring Road inside Delaware Park. At the time they were struck, Mary Sugorovskiy was taking one of the children out of a stroller.
If Myers fell asleep while driving the car, it would be considered an accident, said the source, who is familiar with the investigation.
“It’s a big unknown,” the source said.
Other details about Myers’ past also came to light Tuesday.
Myers was sentenced last year to 10 years of probation for possession of child pornography after pleading guilty to downloading child pornographic videos of boys ranging in age from 8 to 14 on his home computer and sharing them with others. He was not accused of physically abusing any children.
Myers was arrested in October 2013 following a probe by State Police investigators and the state Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
He pleaded guilty in January 2014 to promoting a sexual performance by a child, for which he faced a prison term of as much as seven years.
Myers’ attorney for that case, Herbert L. Greenman, asked Judge Kenneth F. Case to consider probation. He said that the Probation Department recommended a probation sentence with special conditions and that a psychiatrist who is treating Myers also recommended that he be allowed to remain in the community.
“People often think these are victimless crimes,” Case told Myers during the sentencing. “But you realize through your treatment that there are many, many victims and how horrible it is.”
The judge noted that Myers had no previous arrests and that his probation report was one of the most favorable he had ever read.
Case sentenced Myers to 10 years’ sex offender probation, with 38 conditions, in May 2014.
On Tuesday, Myers’ pastor said Myers was remorseful over the child pornography and cooperated fully with authorities when he was caught.
“He never tried to deny it or hide it when he was confronted with what he was doing on the Internet,” Wilson said Tuesday.
“He admitted to everything and he agreed to all the conditions that the court imposed – counseling and therapy,” Wilson said.
It was the same case with the church. As soon as the church was made aware of the allegations, Myers was immediately removed from any contact with youth at the church, where he had served as a youth counselor.
“That is our standard practice,” Wilson said.
He was allowed to remain part of the church.
“We would never deny anyone the right to come here and worship, because obviously as a church we believe people can change and be redeemed,” Wilson said. “If not, then we’re all doing this for nothing.”
Myers had been attending services at the church since he was a child. He always had been quiet, and Wilson said it was his understanding that Myers had “emotional issues he dealt with as a kid.”
Wilson said he noticed that Myers was not in church on Sunday and wondered where he was. He also said Myers was likely coming from an overnight work shift on Saturday morning.
The pastor said he never saw any indication that Myers abused drugs or alcohol.
“We’ve always known him to be a quiet and decent person who tries to help out in whatever way he can,” Wilson said.
Following the fatality, state transportation workers placed concrete barriers along the portion of the expressway that runs next to the park and the speed limit for much of the roadway was reduced from 50 mph to 30 mph.
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