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Police chase from West Seneca ends in crash near Mercy Hospital

A report to West Seneca police about an attempt to pass fraudulent checks at a bank in the town ended shortly after in a police chase, a rollover crash -- and four people being taken to Erie County Medical Center for injuries.

Authorities said the situation got underway at an M&T Bank at Slade Avenue and Ridge Road. West Seneca Police received a report that suspects, in a black SUV, were attempting to pass fraudulent checks.

"A marked unit and a detective car pulled up and the minute (the suspects) saw them, they took off. A pursuit ensued and ended up here in a crash," said West Seneca Police Lt. David Szmania from the scene of the crash at Abbott Road and Cazenovia Street, near Mercy Hospital.

Late Tuesday, West Seneca police said all three individuals involved in the chase appeared to reside outside the state.

Town police said they believe the suspects may be part of a large-scale operation allegedly using fraudulent checks and identity theft to steal money from multiple banks in the Western New York region.

Police did not release the names of the individuals, as authorities were still attempting to verify their identities.  Police said they anticipate they will be charged with multiple felonies and traffic violations.

The scene that resulted in South Buffalo was dramatic.

The SUV that rolled over came to land on its side with its undercarriage exposed in the driveway of a plastic surgery center, diagonally across the street from Mercy Hospital.

A large section of the white vinyl fencing that surrounded the cream and lavender, two-story wood-frame building was destroyed in the accident.

Meanwhile, neighbors and passersby gathered nearby, positioning themselves around the yellow police tape to get a closer look as Buffalo and West Seneca police conducted their investigations at the scene of the wreckage.

A silver van also involved in the accident sustained a great amount of front-end damage and came to rest partly in the street and partly on the sidewalk, on Abbott Road, a few feet from where the SUV landed.

Police Tuesday did not release the identity of the driver of that vehicle, who was described as an elderly man.

The police chase had started earlier in West Seneca, at around 3 p.m.

Two women and a man who were inside the SUV vehicle being chased by police, as well as the driver of another vehicle that was struck but not involved in the chase, were all taken to Erie County Medical Center.

West Seneca police described the suspects as being in their late 20s or early 30s.

Police said none of their injuries were reported as serious.

[Gallery: South Buffalo rollover crash]


A West Seneca Police officer counts an envelope full of cash recovered from one of the vehicles. (Derek Gee/Buffalo News)

The three suspects involved in the chase were taken into police custody.

"We recovered a large amount of money in the vehicle and some disguises in the vehicle, and there was also some drugs that we recovered," Szmania said at the scene.


Two weeks ago, a police chase through the city's Seneca Babcock neighborhood ended when the driver of a car being pursued was critically injured outside the Seneca Babcock Community Center.

That incident involved multiple collisions and also resulted in another motorist getting injured and one child being checked for injuries, after the car being pursued by police slammed into a Buffalo school bus that had six children on board.

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