Cause of crash determined to be failure to reduce speed for the hazards that existed, and pedestrians on or near the edge of the road
Twenty-year-old Carly Marrs of North Tonawanda is facing charges after her vehicle struck and killed two teens last month on Wheatfield's Shawnee Road, the Niagara County Sheriff's Office announced Saturday.
Marrs has been charged with imprudent speed, a traffic infraction; reckless driving, a misdemeanor; and unlawful possession of marijuana, a violation.
While walking on Shawnee Road, Melanie J. Aronow, age 18, of Amherst and Quience Harper, age 18, of Lockport, were both hit by Marrs' vehicle and died at the scene. A third pedestrian, Quincy Bird, age 20, of Lockport, was also struck by Marrs' vehicle and suffered injuries.
The Niagara County Sheriff's Criminal Division and Accident Investigation Unit determined a party took place in the area of the accident and several cars were parked on both sides of the road. All three pedestrians were standing near the southbound fog line when they were stuck by Marrs' vehicle. The cars parked along the road prevented them from walking or standing off the roadway.
Marrs reported she left a friend's house in Wilson and was traveling home to North Tonawanda at the time of the crash. She further reported she never saw the pedestrians standing near or on the edge of the roadway. Investigation by the NCSO revealed all three pedestrians were either going to or leaving the house party on Shawnee Road.
The NCSO said attempts to interview the owner of the house where the party occurred have been unsuccessful, as the homeowners retained a lawyer following the crash.
The accident investigation unit has determined Marrs' vehicle was travelling at or near the posted speed limit of 55 mph at the time of the collision. Damage to Marrs' vehicle indicated all three pedestrians were struck by the passenger side of the 2006 SUV. The roadway was dark and there was no road lighting in the area of the crash.
Marrs was given roadside sobriety tests and drug recognition tests shortly after the crash. She passed all tests given by a drug recognition expert, indicating she was not impaired. She also voluntarily submitted a sample of her blood for toxicology review.
The NCSO forensic lab tested the blood submitted by Marrs and the results verified the conclusions of the drug recognition expert. There were indications Marrs had used marijuana prior to the crash. However, the levels found in her blood were very low, indicating no impairment at the time of the crash.
The lab further determined there was no presence of alcohol in Marrs' blood.
During the inspection of Marrs' vehicle, a pipe commonly used to smoke marijuana was located inside the vehicle. A lab test indicated the pipe contained marijuana.
Marrs is reportedly due in Wheatfield Town Court next month.