No Charges Expected in Deadly Tonawanda Crash

Couple died after police say driver sped at 100mph Friday night

WBEN Newsroom
February 18, 2020 - 12:29 pm
TTPD Chief Jim Stauffiger

WBEN Photo/Tim Wenger


Tonawanda, NY (WBEN) "Disbelief" is how veteran Town of Tonawanda Police investigators can best describe the incidents that occurred Friday night in the town that ultimately led to a crash that took the lives of two 21-year old victims from North Tonawanda.  Police say the driver who died in the crash with his girlfriend drove at speeds of more than 100 mph at times.

"I've never seen an engine block sheared off a vehicle before this incident", said Tonawanda Police Chief Jim Stauffiger who has been with the department for 25 years. 

Chief Stauffiger says it all began at 10:35pm Tyler Lichtenberger and Gianna Ameno were in the Sheridan Parkside Minimart parking lot, where Lichtenberger pointed a gun at another individual. The he says the two began fighting, then Lichtenberger drove his car at a male and female before leaving the parking lot.

Stauffiger says Lichtenberger was then involved in another incident at Military and Skillen in Buffalo, where he struck a vehicle and left that scene. He says an officer tried to stop Lichtenberger's car after spotting the car on Military, driving up to 80 mph. The officer could not get within five blocks of Lichtenberger's car.

When Lichtenberger sped through a red light at Military and Sheridan, Stauffiger says Lichtenberger was going at least 100mph. Lichtenberger and Ameno were not wearing seatbelts according to police, and were ejected from their car after a collision with a second vehicle at the intersection. In all, six vehicles were involved.

"Clearly the behavior was unusual", said Chief Stauffiger of Lichtenberger.  "There's nothing to indicate right now right now that alcohoil or drugs were involved", adds Stauffiger.  Autopsies on both deceased victims are being conducted and results are not expected to be known for weeks or months.

Three other people were hurt; Stauffiger says they've since been released from the hospital.

A BB gun was found at the scene. Police say they believe that belonged to Lichtenberger.



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