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Memorial tree to be dedicated at Barry Moss hit-run site in Angola

A white birch tree will be dedicated Sunday as a memorial to Barry Moss, the handyman who was struck and fatally injured by a hit-and-run driver the night of Dec. 22, 2013.

No one has been charged in connection with Moss’ death more than 18 months ago, but his family members refuse to give up.

“We have not given up hope,” said Moss’ sister, Maria Wrafter.

Police continue their investigation, and an $11,000 reward for information leading to a conviction is being offered through the Greater Buffalo Metropolitan Crime Stoppers program, Wrafter said.

“The Evans Police have not given up … They have had help from State Police, FBI and Crime Stoppers. I think that they have gotten more evidence,” Wrafter said. “We all still hope and pray that justice will come.”

The dedication ceremony will be held at 11 a.m. Sunday at 8484 Erie Road (Route 5) in Angola, where police say the 52-year-old Moss was struck and fatally injured by a sport utility vehicle as he walked or rode his bicycle along the road.

Though Evans Police have stated in their reports their conclusion that the hit-and-run driver was former Angola bar owner Gabriele Ballowe, she has refused to talk to authorities about the events of that night and has never been charged criminally.

Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III recently told The Buffalo News that he believes Ballowe was driving the vehicle, but he said he disagrees with the contention of police that there is enough evidence to prove that Ballowe knew she hit Moss and that she made a “conscious and deliberate decision” to leave him injured at the scene.

The district attorney also noted that an autopsy showed that Moss was heavily intoxicated when the vehicle hit him.

Evans Police Chief Ernest Masullo and members of Moss’ family have disagreed with Sedita’s position.

In January, an administrative law judge for the state Department of Motor Vehicles revoked Ballowe’s driver’s license, saying he found “abundant evidence” that she struck Moss with her vehicle while “under the influence of alcohol.”

The DMV law judge, Glenn E. Murray, made his decision after a noncriminal hearing, which has lesser standards of proof than those at a criminal trial.

An attorney hired by Moss’ daughters and grandchildren is continuing to press a civil lawsuit against Ballowe.

The recently planted birch tree will be decorated with a plaque dedicated to Moss, Wrafter said. She said his three daughters wanted the ceremony to take place close to Father’s Day so they could publicly show that they miss their father and still hope for an arrest.

Police asked anyone who has information to call Masullo or Lt. Douglas Czora at 549-3600, or the Crime Stoppers tip line at 867-6161.

Ballowe has declined to comment on the case through her attorney, Thomas J. Eoannou.