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Hit-and-run driver charged with DWI after critically injuring bicyclist

A Cheektowaga man who  had an open container of alcohol in his SUV was charged with leaving the scene of an accident and DWI after a bicyclist was critically injured early Friday morning, police said.

The accident occurred shortly after midnight when Damian Garra, 18, of Cheektowaga, was riding his bicycle southbound in Shanley Street, according to Cheektowaga Police.

An SUV was eastbound on Richard Drive and made a left turn onto Shanley, where it struck the bicyclist, police said.

The driver of the Saturn Vue, Paul Hintermeier, 36, also of Cheektowaga, left the scene but was immediately located at his home. He was charged with vehicular assault, leaving the scene of an injury accident, DWI, aggravated unlicensed operation, using unsafe speed, failure to stop at a stop sign, failure to keep right, having an open container of alcohol and refusing a breath screening test. Police said additional charges are pending.

He was arraigned before Cheektowaga Town Justice Dennis Gorski, who set bail at $100,000 cash or $250,000 bond. The case is scheduled to return to Town Court at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

Garra was rushed by ambulance to Sisters of Charity Hospital, St. Joseph Campus, where he was stabilized and then transferred to the Erie County Medical Center. He was listed in critical condition, police said.

The Cheektowaga Police Accident Investigation Unit is asking anyone who saw the accident to call at 686-3580.

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