Teen victim in Cheektowaga hit and run dies

Posted at 10:51 AM, Aug 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-08-14 19:08:18-04

UPDATE: The Cheektowaga Police Department reported that 18-year-old Damian Garra passed away Saturday at ECMC. Police along with the Erie County District Attorney's office will work together to upgrade Hintermeier's charges.

Original: A Cheektowaga man is facing charges after police say he blew through a stop sign, drove into a man on a bicycle and took off.

The accident happened early Friday morning at Shanley Street and Richard Drive in the Town of Cheektowaga.

Paul Hintermeier, 36, of Cheektowaga is charged with vehicular assault, driving while intoxicated, aggravated unlicensed operation, unsafe speed, failing to stop at a a stop sign and failing to keep right.

The victim, 18 year-old Damian Garra of Cheektowaga, was taken to Sisters of Charity Hospital St. Joseph Campus before he was transferred to ECMC.

The driver hit the bicyclist at a "high rate of speed after speeding through a stop sign", according to the Erie County District Attorney's Office.

This is the second hit and run in Cheektowaga this week. On Tuesday, an unknown driver hit and killed Robert Prigl, 55, of Depew and Fort Myers, Florida. That happened around 5 a.m. on Genesee Street near the Buffalo Niagara International Airport. Police are investigating, but no arrests have been made.

Bail for Hintermeier was set at $100,000 cash or $250,000 bond. He is due back in Cheektowaga Town Court on August 16th.

Family members of the victim tell 7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ed Reilly that Damian Garra had just graduated from Emerson School of Hospitality and was planning on attending N.C.C.C. to become a master chef.

The Garra family had scheduled a graduation party for the teenager that turned out to be the same day that he died in the hospital.

Relatives said Garra was a person who was quick with a smile and was always there to lend a helping hand - especially to relatives.  His grandfather said the young man was also hoping to marry his longtime girlfriend.

You can hear more from the family in Ed Reilly's reports

Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said the charges in this case could be upgraded to Vehicular Manslaughter once the results of a court-ordered blood test on Hintermeier are returned.  Flynn said Hintermeier refused to voluntarily comply with screening tests.

In addition, Flynn said if the the Blood Alcohol Content shows Hintermeier was above .18 BAC and was driving recklessly, he could be possibly charged with Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (B Felony)