The driver of the car that went off the Scajaquada Expressway Saturday and struck two children, killing one of them and leaving the other critically injured, is a former youth counselor at a Riverside church on probation after pleading guilty last year to downloading child pornography videos and emailing them to others, The Buffalo News has learned.
The driver was Christian P. Myers, 28, of Buffalo, two law enforcement sources confirmed.
Myers told investigators that he fell asleep at the wheel when he lost control of his Chevy Malibu just before noon as he was westbound on the Scajaquada.
The car went over the grassy median between the expressway, which had 50 mph limit, into the park where Mary Sugorovskiy was walking with her children, Stephanie, 5, and Maksym, 3. All three were struck. Maksym was killed. Stephanie was badly injured – both her legs are fractured and her wrist was broken – and she is recovering at Women and Children’s Hospital. The mother suffered minor injuries.
Myers got out of his vehicle after the accident and was seen kneeling on the ground, weeping. Police said Myers has been cooperating with the investigation. He has not been charged in the incident.
Sources said Myers is distraught over what happened in the park and is undergoing psychiatric care at Erie County Medical Center.
In October 2013, Myers, was arrested following an investigation by State Police investigators and the state Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force
Myers had been a youth counselor at Victory Assembly of God in Buffalo at the times the crimes were committed. He had not been a counselor there for about a year by the time he was arrested.
He resigned his position in May 2012 after police discovered he had been downloading and sharing pornographic images of 8 to 14 year old boys. The images did not involved any of the youth at the church.
He pleaded guilty in January 2014 to promoting a sexual performance by a child. He faced a prison term as much as seven years in prison.
But in May 2013, he was sentenced to 10 years’ sex offender probation, with 38 conditions.
His attorney, Herbert L. Greenman, asked Judge Kenneth F. Case to consider probation. He said the Probation Department recommended a probation sentenced 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.
ECMC’s Comprehensive Psychiatric Emergency Program (CPEP) is a 24-hour psychiatric emergency program in WNY. The service offers evaluation in two stages: first by a registered nurse, social worker or community mental health clinician; and second by a psychiatrist, who is a medical doctor with special training in the assessment and treatment of emotional/behavioral disorders.
Buffalo police are now awaiting the results of toxicology testing to determine whether charges will be placed against Myers, a law enforcement source confirmed.
Police are also waiting for the results of forensic testing on the vehicle Myers was driving when he struck the two children Saturday on Ring Road as they were returning to their car from a youth soccer match.
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 pending the results of the two rounds of tests.
A sobriety test was administered at the scene, and blood was drawn from Myers.