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Victim in deadly crash in Depew identified

The 72-year-old Depew woman killed in a horrific head-on crash on French Road Wednesday was identified police as Carol Dion. She lived just a couple of blocks from the scene of the accident on French Alys Drive, Depew police said Thursday.

In addition, witnesses told investigators that the red pick up truck that struck Dion’s sedan crossed over the center line before colliding with Dion’s vehicle, said Lt. William Curr.

The Accident Investigation Unit was still working on the case, Curr said. They have not yet determined whether speed or other factors contributed to the incident.

Police have not yet released the name of the driver of the pickup truck or Dion’s passenger, but officials said Wednesday they were all from Depew. They were taken to Erie County Medical Center. Their conditions were not available Thursday.

Wednesday’s crash stunned residents who heard the impact – with one resident describing it as “the most horrific noise” he had ever heard.

The collision occurred at about 11:30 a.m. on French Road near the intersection of Alys Drive East – an area where the posted speed limit is 30 mph. Neighborhood residents said the speed limit is typically obeyed and the road is not known as a high-speed area.

Early Wednesday evening, a 20 year-old woman who identified herself as Dion’s granddaughter wept with a girlfriend a short distance from the crash scene.

“We barely know what happened,” said the young woman, who declined to give her name. “It’s 30 mph here. There’s a church right here. Nothing this bad has ever happened in this neighborhood.”

The woman, who said she had spent Tuesday at her grandmother’s home, to make 21st birthday plans. She said her grandmother never liked to drive.

“She hated driving. She only did it when she had to,” she said.

“She was an amazing woman. She didn’t deserve it,” said the granddaughter, who said her 23-year-old sister was in the car with her grandmother and was injured in the crash.

She said her grandmother and sister were coming home from a doctor’s appointment when the crash occurred. “My grandmother lives two streets away and was probably going home,” she said.

Police officers and several firefighters remained on the scene into the evening Wednesday. Debris from the crash and parts of the pickup were scattered, between Alys and Beverly Drive. The streets remained closed for more than six hours.

At the time of the crash the car came to a stop in the driveway of a ranch home on Alys, which fronts French Road. The impact of the crash sent the car’s engine into the middle of French, about 75 yards from the car.

Witnesses and neighbors speculated that speed played a factor, but many remained puzzled because the crash occurred between two stop signs just three blocks apart on French. Many in the quiet neighborhood stood on sidewalks or sat on their porches in a state of disbelief Wednesday evening. “It was the most horrific noise I have ever heard,” said David Kasprzyk, who lives on Beverly about 100 yards from where the crash occurred.

Kasprzyk said he was the first on the scene, as he rushed out of his home to see what happened.

“It was the worst noise I have heard in my life. It sounded like a garbage truck flipping over in the street a couple-hundred times.” he said. “I came running out of my house and I could see a red pickup and see the driver lying face-down in a driveway.”

Kasprzyk ran across the street and found the driver of the truck covered in blood and screaming about her leg.

“The truck started on fire and we thought it was going to blow, so we dragged her onto a lawn,” said Kasprzyk, who said another man helped him.

Meanwhile, the driver of a Costanzo Bakery truck extinguished the fire, Kasprzyk said. Police and paramedics then arrived.

The car driven ended up in the driveway of Ronnie Misinec’s ranch house at 11 Alys East.

“We were at work, but my wife came home for lunch and the car was in the driveway,” Misinec said. “My wife came home to it. She texted me and she sent me a bunch of pictures, and I was like, ‘Oh, my God.’ ”

Misinec said he and his wife and their 3-year-old daughter moved into their home in April and he was shocked by the collision.

“I would never have dreamed something like this would happen … and to have someone dying in your driveway. You think people would be smart and do the speed limit. They’ll go 40 mph to 45 mph down here, but nothing like this” must have been. “You would never dream someone would get that much speed up.”

Misinec’s wife, Michele, was clearly shaken while talking about the crash at dinner time.

“It is scary. It could have been me,” she said.

Authorities at the scene said the preliminary investigation showed the car was heading west on French, while the pickup was eastbound on French at the time of the crash. The speed of the vehicles has not been determined and the police investigation is continuing.

Isabelle Pyc, who lives very close to where the pickup crashed, was in the bathroom when she said she heard a loud sound.

“At first, I thought it maybe was a plane or a clap of thunder,” she said, while sipping coffee on her porch Wednesday night with her husband, Ron. “But then I could smell rubber. I came out front and saw a red pickup with a female driver thrown onto the sidewalk area. You could still see steam coming from the truck.”

“Somebody must have been zapping, because the impact was unbelievable. By the way the vehicles looked … and you don’t have an engine thrown from a car by another house and have someone going 30 mph,” she said.