Community Mourns Teenager's Tragic Death

May 5, 2012 Updated May 5, 2012 at 11:57 PM EDT

By Allen Leight
By Jaclyn Azstalos
By Ed Reilly

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May 5, 2012 Updated May 5, 2012 at 11:57 PM EDT

(Lancaster, NY) A makeshift memorial has been set up at the spot where 14-year old Bryce Buchholz was killed on Thursday night. Ever since the teenagers death, a steady stream of people have been bringing gifts, and stopping at the memorial to reflect on the life of middle-school student.

Lancaster Police said they got the call around 8:30p.m. Thursday night that a vehicle hit a bicyclist, and then fled the scene.

"Our witness statements show that he struck the boy on the bicycle and left the scene, he did not stop or attempt to render any type of aid," said Lancaster Police Lt. Ronald Rozler.

The victim, 14 year old Bryce Buchholz, was taken to St. Joe's Hospital, but died from injuries he sustained in the accident.

Authorities said the car was driving southbound on Lake Avenue. The bike was riding in the same direction, but on the east side of the road. The car failed to maintain a lane, swerved, and hit the boy. Police said the driver then left the boy for dead.

Police finally caught up with the driver thanks to an eyewitness identified as 40-year old Benny Kirkland.

"We had a witness at the scene who followed him to his residence, confronted him at his residence, then followed him back to the scene," Lt. Ronald Rozler said.

The driver of the car, 23 year old Michael Ettipio was immediately arrested and arraigned in Lancaster Town Court Friday morning.

Meanwhile the community is mourning the loss of a vibrant young life.

Commenting on the large numbers of people gathering at the memorial site, Lancaster Schools Superintendent Edward Myszka added, "We have to have a grieving process when we lose a loved one, and this just shows how much Bryce was loved."

"We have the family of a 14-year-old that...they will be without him forever now. They're going to have to live with that," added Lt. Rozler.

Buchholz was an 8th grader at Lancaster Middle School, where students and friends wore orange today, and will again on Monday in honor of him.

Orange was Bryce's favorite color.

School officials say they will continue to have grief councilors available for students through the middle of next week to help students and faculty dealing with the tragic loss.

Ettipio is being held on $25,000 bail and will appear in Lancaster court on May 9th for a Felony hearing.