BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) – A Buffalo man who died after crashing through a guardrail on Humboldt Parkway and landing on Route 33 below was being pursued by NFTA Police.
PHOTOS | See photos from the scene
NFTA Police had just broken up a fight at Main and Utica when they saw Brown drive past. They say he was racing a second vehicle down Main Street, and the vehicles almost hit their patrol cruisers.
“The officer thought he was going to be hit and literally braced himself at his car for impact,” said NFTA Spokesman Douglas Hartmayer.
After the vehicles passed, NFTA Police tried to pursue. But Hartmayer says when Brown shot down Woodlawn Avenue, going the wrong way, the pursuing officer backed down, and was about a half mile back when Brown’s BMW hit the guardrail.
I couldn’t get within 50 feet of the vehicle without feeling extreme heat. – Rural Metro Supervisor Richard Abraham
“He saw some sparks, flames if you will, and lost sight of the taillights. So at that point the car crashed through the barrier,” Hartmayer said.
Two Rural Metro EMTs were driving the opposite way on Route 33, around 1:30 a.m. Saturday, seconds after the car crashed and caught fire. Video sent to News 4 by a viewer shows those EMTs running from their car as they tried to rescue Brown.
“They were next to a burning car with flames going over their heads with no protective gear on like the fire department wears. They were definitely in fight mode trying to get this patient out of the car,” Rural Metro Supervisor Dave Mangus said. “They gave it their all for probably a good two minutes and they had to back away because the heat became too intense for them to withstand.”
Brown, who friends say was a construction worker, was pronounced dead a short time later.
One of those EMTs is an Iraq War Veteran. Both have been given time off from work after experiencing this traumatic and emotional situation. The scene has been described as a war zone.
“When I arrived on scene the car was fully involved. I couldn’t get within 50 feet of the vehicle without feeling extreme heat,” Rural Metro Supervisor Richard Abraham said. “This is a difficult scene for anyone, and people think that EMS, we see everything, but this was an extremely difficult scene to be at, to be involved with, and the crew that went did an exceptional job handling it the way that they did.”
Sources say the NFTA Police officer who had been pursuing Brown also attempted to recuse him. No other driver on Route 33 was involved in the crash, but police say a driver has just driven past the spot where Brown landed, and flying concrete from the resulting explosion blew out all of his windows.
Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita says his Vehicular Crimes Unit is now talking with police investigators.
So far there have been no charges placed against the unnamed 19-year-old driver of the car that was racing Brown down Main Street, who was arrested by NFTA Police after his car smashed into a tree on Glenwood Avenue.