Hit-and-Run crashes on the rise in WNY

"There's been a definite increase in pedestrian strikes" Scott Lawida, Amherst PD

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Buffalo, N.Y. (WBEN) - There have been a rash of hit-&-runs in Western New York this year, at least six of them in the city of Buffalo since May.  Defense Attorney Arthur Pressman says it's a combination of things. "It's panic, or drivers are aware that they're intoxicated or under the influence of drugs".

Amherst Police Senior investigator Scott Lawida is finding that pedestrians are not crossing at crosswalks - and drivers are more and more distracted. "People are not paying attention.  They're doing everything else in the car - other than driving the car". 

Lawida offers this advice. "Stop, pull over, call the police and avoid possible felony charges of leaving the scene".  He says good old fashioned police work usually pays off. "We follow fluid and debris trails and surveillance video.  Every business seems to have security video today.  It's a real big thing right now.  We use that in almost every case". 

Police also visit car dealers, junk yards and body shops which often leads to the vehicle - and eventually the driver. 

Pressman says drivers in these types of crashes should follow the law; stop and offer aid, then call police.  If the driver makes a conscious decision to flee the scene, "they should contact a defense attorney and discuss their options".  He says with forensics and technology, they will likely be caught and an attorney can arrange a surrender to move a case forward.

Hear Amherst PD's Scott Lawida and Atty Arthur Pressman below:

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