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Deceased occupants' car going more than 100 mph when it ran red light

Town of Tonawanda police release timeline of double fatal crash
Posted at 1:19 PM, Feb 18, 2020

TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WKBW) — Town of Tonawanda police are now releasing a more detailed timeline of the events that took place prior to a fatal crash that killed two people.

Tyler Lichtenberger and Gianna Ameno, both 21, died after being ejected from a white Ford Focus that was registered to Ameno and being driven by Lichtenberger. Police said the two victims were not wearing seat belts and the vehicle was estimated to be going over 100 mph as it crashed at Military Road and Sheridan Drive at 10:49 p.m. Friday February 14th.

Prior to the crash, police say a bizarre serious of events took place:

  • 10:35 p.m. Lichtenberger and Ameno are in the parking lot of the Sheridan-Parkside Market when Lichtenberger gets out of the Ford he was driving and confronts a man and women. During the confrontation, Lichtenberger points a gun at the people who told police they did not know Lichtenberger. Lichtenberger gets into a physical confrontation with the man and then tries to hit the people with his vehicle.
  • 10:47 p.m. Lichtenberger and Ameno pull up next to a vehicle at Military and Skillen Street in Buffalo. Lichtenberger begins revving his engine, then gets out, starts shouting at the car and displays a weapon. The people in the car Lichtenberger was targeting also told police they did not know Lichtenberger. As Lichtenberger leaves the scene, he strikes the other vehicle causing property damage.
  • 10:48 p.m. Lichtenberger and Ameno run a red light at Kenmore and Military Roads doing an estimated 80 mph. Town of Tonawanda Police Officer Z. Fierle takes evasive actions to avoid being hit, then turns on siren and lights to pursue the speeding vehicle - which is now almost 5-blocks ahead due to its high speed.
  • 10:49 p.m. Officer Fierle sees the speeding white Ford Focus go through a red light at Military and Sheridan, strike a vehicle with enough force to shear-off its front-end and motor, then spins out of control and hits several cars waiting to go south on Military Road. Lichtenberger and Ameno are ejected from their vehicle and are pronounced dead.

Town of Tonawanda Police Chief James Stauffiger said the department is awaiting results of toxicology from the deceased victims.

Police did recover a BB gun in the crash debris field. Chief Stauffiger said it would appear to be a real handgun in the nighttime conditions.

Three other people hurt in the accident have been treated and released at Kenmore Mercy Hospital and ECMC.

The police chief said the investigation continues and will include checking to see if cell phone use played any role. Stauffger said the behavior of Lichtenberger was "unusual" and said no charges will be filed.