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OP police: Elma driver flees from 3 hit-and-runs, then T-bones 4th car

An Elma driver suspected of three hit-and-runs within minutes of each other in Orchard Park T-boned a fourth car before crashing into a tree Monday evening, Orchard Park police said.

They identified the driver as Thomas E. Kukula.

Town police were dispatched to Southwestern Boulevard and North Benzing Road at about 6:30 p.m. to investigate a hit-and-run involving a dark-colored, older Land Rover striking another car. Minutes later, police said, they received two more hit-and-run calls also involving a Land Rover, this time near Lake Avenue and Southwestern. The driver of one those vehicles told police that when she got out of her car to assess the damage the Land Rover almost hit her. A witness at that scene was able to get a plate number as the Land Rover went east on Southwestern.

Next, police learned of an injury accident on East Quaker Street at Freeman Road in the Village of Orchard Park. Police said the Land Rover involved in the other incidents had gone through a red light and T-boned another car before veering off the roadway and crashing into a tree. The Land Rover sustained heavy damage and the engine compartment caught on fire. Orchard Park firefighters extinguished the fire.

Kukula was taken to Mercy Ambulatory Care Center for observation. An Erie County Sheriff's Office drug recognition expert evaluated Kukula and Kukula was charged with driving while impaired with drugs, multiple counts of reckless driving and other traffic infractions. He was released without bail and is scheduled to appear in both town and village courts at a later date.


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