Grand jury: Not enough evidence for charges in fatal hit and run

EVANS, N.Y. (WIVB) – An Erie County grand jury has determined there is not enough evidence to prove who is responsible for the hit-and-run accident that killed Barry Moss.

The 52-year-old was struck while walking or riding his bicycle on the side of Route 5 in Evans near Gold Street last December. The SUV left the scene and Moss was later found dead. He was just yards away from his home.

Police were able to determine the Ford Explorer belongs to Gabriele Ballowe, who officers say did not cooperate in the investigation.

“I would say that the owner is not cooperating or didn’t cooperate or maybe had no intentions of cooperating, so we still haven’t gotten any cooperation from the owner,” said Lt. Douglas Czora with the Town of Evans Police.

Ballowe was a person of interest in the case, but after three weeks of reviewing evidence, a grand jury determined there is not enough evidence to prove who was behind the wheel and whether or not that person knew he or she struck Moss.

Erie County DA Frank Sedita said, “I have feelings about the case, the police have feelings about this case, and I suspect many grand jurors have feelings about the case, and we all feel the same way. What we feel, we’re all pretty much in agreement, but that’s not the issue.”

Sedita says the problem is a loophole in the current law, which would be closed by “Alix’s Law,” and he supports that. As it currently stands, prosecutors have to prove someone knew they struck a person and left the scene. “Alix’s Law” would make it so that a driver is presumed to know they hit a person.

“Alix’s Law” was created after the fatal hit-and-run accident that killed Alix Rice. The Amherst teen was struck by Dr. James Corasanti, who claimed during his trial that he did not know he had hit her.

A jury found that as the current law is written, because Corasanti was unaware he struck Rice, he could not be found guilty of more serious charges. Instead, Corasanti was found guilty of misdemeanor DWI and sentenced to a year in jail. He served eight months before being released.

State Senator Patrick Gallivan introduced “Alix’s Law” to the Senate, where it passed, but it has yet to pass the Assembly.

“At the end of the day, a crime wasn’t committed and that is the end result,” said attorney Thomas Eoannou, who represents Ballowe.

Eoannou could not say who was driving the vehicle but added, “Gabriele’s heart goes out to the family, as mine does. Gabe has wanted to speak since the Monday when they learned the news that Barry Moss had died, and it was upon advice from counsel that she didn’t, but she’s been heart broken over this event. She understands the passion, the emotions, no question about it.”

There are many of these signs in Evans, where Moss was struck and killed
There are many of these signs in Evans, where Moss was struck and killed

Ballowe, who owns and operates South Shore Beach Club in Evans with her husband Gary, has remained silent about the accident. But on a Facebook post in March, Gary wrote, “I would like to express my personal and deepest thanks to those who have sent their thoughts and prayers out to both families affected by the recent tragedy. In my heart there is no comparison for the hurt and loss that the Moss family has had to endure.”

The statement went on to say, “My personal prayers go out to the family of Barry Moss. I am truly sorry for your loss. None of us can ever imagine things like this happening to our families. When it does, it is overwhelming in every aspect. I hope someday your family is able to heal from their great loss and hope the memories keep him alive. I knew Barry, and will keep him in my thoughts and prayers always. Sincerely, Gary Ballowe”

The lack of an arrest has baffled Moss’s family.

His sister, Maria Wrafter, told News 4 in January, “The police need someone to come forward and we really don’t understand why anyone would defend or not come forward when they know a person would leave someone for dead.”

“Our confidence with the police is definitely there. It’s very difficult to be patient. It’s making my family almost insane. It’s very unsettling. We ask that somebody look to their conscience and come forward.”

Without help from the public, it is unlikely an arrest will ever be made in Moss’s death. He leaves behind three daughters and three grandchildren.

Lt. Czora said, “If anybody out there knows anything about that particular night…it’s a small town, a lot of people know who we’re looking at, what vehicle we’re looking at. If you know anything that can help, let us know.”

You can reach Evans Police at 549-3600.

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