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Judge reserves decision in trial of driver who struck, killed 2 in Wheatfield

WHEATFIELD - Town Justice John J. Mattio reserved decision Tuesday after a nonjury trial for the North Tonawanda woman whose sport utility vehicle struck and killed two pedestrians on Shawnee Road in Wheatfield Aug. 20.

Carly A. Marrs, 20, of Eddy Drive, North Tonawanda, is charged with reckless driving, imprudent speed and unlawful possession of marijuana. If she is convicted on the most serious charge, which is reckless driving, the maximum penalty is a year in jail.

Mattio told the attorneys he would mail them his decision, said defense attorney Anthony J. Lana.

The victims, Melanie J. Aronow of Amherst, and Quience Harper of Lockport, both 18, died at the scene, while a third pedestrian, Quincy Byrd, 20, was hurt. They were attending a large party in a home on Shawnee Road which had both shoulders of the two-lane road lined with partygoers' parked vehicles. There were no streetlights in the vicinity; the accident occurred shortly after midnight.

A pipe allegedly containing marijuana residue was found in Marrs' SUV, but she was determined not to have been under the influence of drugs or alcohol, which is why reckless driving was the most serious count filed. She did not leave the scene.

The pedestrians Marrs' SUV struck were walking to the right of her southbound vehicle, and Lana contended they had to have been walking in the traffic lane because of all the parked vehicles on the shoulders. He also noted that the impacts on Aronow and Harper were on the right sides of their bodies, indicating they were walking toward Marrs' vehicle and were not hit from behind.

Lana also said the toxicology reports on the victims showed each had moderate to high levels of the active ingredient of marijuana in their systems, while the "black box" in Marrs' SUV showed she was going no faster than 59 mph one second before impact. The speed limit at the scene is 55 mph.


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