LOCKPORT – The two persons who were struck and killed by a passing motorist early Saturday in Wheatfield, along with a third person who was hurt, were friends who all traveled together to a party, another friend said Wednesday.
Charlie K. Horton-Fisher of Lockport said the deceased, Melanie J. Aronow and Quience Harper, both of them 18, had been at a party at a home on Shawnee Road in Wheatfield for only a short time before the tragedy occurred.
Horton-Fisher, 21, said Harper was a cousin of his, as was Quincy R. Byrd, 20, who was injured but survived.
Byrd is “mentally kind of messed up. He lost two of the closest people to him,” Horton-Fisher said in an interview with The Buffalo News. “He’s being strong for everybody else, but deep inside I can see the pain. He’s all stitched up, he’s real bad, but he’s got a smile on his face the best he can.”
Horton-Fisher said Byrd suffered injuries to his liver and a gashed arm. Aronow, a former Lockport resident who still spent a lot of time there even though she had moved to Amherst, and Harper, a Lockport resident, were pronounced dead at the scene. A fourth friend who was with them, Cedrick J. Luke of Lockport, went to the party with the others and was walking with them, but he was not struck and he called 911 to get help.
“I think they left something in their car and they went to go get it,” Horton-Fisher said. “Each and every one of them was in the same car.”
Horton-Fisher was there, too, but he was at his vehicle on the other side of the road. He said he didn’t see the impact, but he heard it, although he said he didn’t hear the vehicle coming.
“If they would have heard it, they would have been out of the way,” he said.
Both sides of Shawnee Road were lined with vehicles parked on the shoulders. The Niagara County Sheriff’s Office accident report, obtained Wednesday, cites pedestrian error as a cause of the accident, but the boxes for possible driver error or violations are marked with an X, which means “unknown.”
Sheriff James R. Voutour said a toxicology test is being carried out on a blood sample from the driver of the vehicle, Carly A. Marrs, 20, of North Tonawanda.
The report by Deputy Tyler L. Magliazzo says Marrs was driving from a residence on Cambria-Wilson Road in Cambria to her home in North Tonawanda when the incident occurred. Marrs, reached by The News, said her attorney had advised her not to talk about the case. She declined to identify the attorney.
No charges have been filed, but Voutour said the investigation remains open. The accident report includes a drawing that indicates the pedestrians were walking in single file along the fog line at the edge of the road when they were struck.
Voutour said the report isn’t final yet. But he said, “Damage to the vehicle was only on the front passenger corner and along the passenger side, which indicated all three were hit in a single point or area of the vehicle.”
He said the Sheriff’s Office hasn’t confirmed the exact scenario, but he said Horton-Fisher’s story about the four arriving together and heading for their car at the same time “makes sense.”
The sheriff added, “All the factors we are considering could change the report.”
The report said Marrs was found in her parked vehicle south of the scene.
The party that Aronow, Harper and Byrd were at was attended by at least 100 people, but Horton-Fisher described it as quiet.
“There wasn’t any loud music. We weren’t bothering anybody. It was calm,” he said.
He said he didn’t recall the name of the host.
Horton-Fisher said he’s left with memories of his two deceased friends.
He said he “hung every day” with Aronow and remembered her funny laugh. He said, “It was a unique laugh. She’s smart. She knew when to leave and she knew when to stay.”
He said he and Harper had been rapping together. “We just made four songs, back to back. Had a whole mix tape coming out,” Horton-Fisher said. Otherwise, he said Harper was a quiet man. “Our recent song was ‘From Time to Time,’ about a girl he was going through and a girl I was going through. We put two stories in one,” Horton-Fisher said.
As for Marrs, “I didn’t see her until she came back and started crying,” Horton-Fisher said.