The owner of the boat who was aboard the craft when a 16-year-old girl was killed on Ellicott Creek last week has been identified as Timothy Wisniewski, according to the mother of the teenage boy who also was aboard.
Town of Tonawanda police are investigating who was piloting the boat at the time of the accident and whether alcohol was involved.
Donna Hemmerling said her 17-year-old son, Gregory Green, and his girlfriend Avery L. Gardner, 16, were visiting Wisniewski’s son on Young Street in the City of Tonawanda hours before the accident. The boat had been docked in Ellicott Creek at the rear of the Wisniewski home, she said.
“Greg said the father kept saying he wanted him and Avery to see the sunrise on his boat,” Hemmerling said, explaining how the young couple decided to go on the vessel just before dawn.
Avery stood up in the moving boat and her head slammed against the low bridge in Ellicott Creek Park, according to town police.
Hemmerling, of North Tonawanda, says her son is devastated by the accident.
“He’s told me, ‘Mom, I can’t even close my eyes. Every time I do, I see blood,’ ” she said.
A meeting between investigators and the Erie County District Attorney’s Office was expected to discuss the possibility of charges.
Wiesnewski, 50, has a son who is 19, sources said.
Law enforcement sources in the Tonawandas said Wisniewski was arrested numerous times beginning in 1986 on charges including petit larceny, driving while intoxicated, disorderly conduct and grand larceny auto. In addition, at least two arrest records were sealed.
A candlelight vigil is scheduled for Friday evening on the footbridge, near Thistle Avenue, to remember Avery, Hemmerling said. “We’re continuing to try and raise money for her family for the funeral expenses,” she said.
Hemmerling said lights or reflectors should be placed on the footbridge to illuminate it.
News Staff Reporter Jane Kwiatkowski Radlich contributed to this report. email: firstname.lastname@example.org