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Depew woman, 26, faces homicide count in head-on collision

A Depew woman has been charged with criminally negligent homicide in the September crash that killed a 72-year-old woman who was coming home from driving her granddaughter to the doctor.

Sarah Skotnicki, 26, was arraigned Wednesday in Depew Village Court on the homicide felony and on a misdemeanor charge of third-degree assault.

Skotnicki allegedly was the driver of a pickup that was seen weaving in and out of traffic on French Road late in the morning of Sept. 9 before it reportedly cross the center line and collided nearly head on with a car driven by Carol Dion, who lived a few block away on French Alys Drive.

Dion died at the scene. The impact was so forceful it sent the engine flying out of the sedan she was driving. Dion’s 23-year-old granddaughter survived the crash, and witnesses at the time said it appeared Dion turned the car slightly before the impact in an effort to protect the younger woman.

Skotnicki, who was alone in her truck, was thrown from her vehicle and suffered a broken leg and foot.

Depew Police Chief Stanley D. Carwile said that the charges are the result of an investigation led by Detective Todd Pyc, who determined that there were a number of contributing factors that led to the crash. Carwile said speed appeared to be one of the factors, but that Skotnicki was not charged with being otherwise impaired at the time of the crash.

Skotnicki lives in Depew but the collision did not occur in her neighborhood. Carwile said the road is a neighborhood street with a 30-mph speed limit, multiple stop signs and a traffic signal. The crash happened between stop signs that were three blocks apart.

Criminally negligent homicide is charged in cases when, though the defendant did not intend to cause a death, her behavior was so reckless, inattentive, negligent, or careless that a person is killed.

The offense carries a possible maximum penalty of up to four years in prison. Skotnicki was remanded to the Erie County Holding Center and Judge Gordon Willis set bail at $25,000 cash or $100,000 bond.