EVANS, N.Y. (WIVB) – Town of Evans Police Chief Ernest Masullo is refusing to release the SUV that struck and killed 52-year-old Barry Moss on Route 5.
“The vehicle is evidence, and like in any other case, when a case is not solved, we retain the evidence,” said Chief Masullo.
The 2013 Ford Explorer owned by Gabriele Ballowe has been held as police evidence since Christmas. After hearing the case last month, a grand jury decided there is not enough evidence to press charges.
In order to convict for leaving the scene of an injury accident, prosecutors have to prove not only who was driving, but that the driver knew he or she hit someone. After six months, evidence proving that still hasn’t surfaced, so why keep the vehicle now?
“That’s called ‘shaking the bushes’ in law enforcement,” according to Chief Masullo. “What could happen? The person, an eyewitness that we believe someone is out there that knows 100 percent could come forward. And guess what? If we don’t have the evidence of the car, that’s one piece of the puzzle that’s gone that we may not get back.”
Moss’s sister is still holding out hope.
“There are probably people out there who know something and could help,” said Maria Wrafter. “If you do know something, I don’t know how you could live with yourself and not come forward.”
Although Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita has allowed for the release of the SUV, Chief Masullo isn’t ready to let it go.
“There’s no controversy between the DA’s office and us. We work hand in hand every day and stand side by side regarding this case. We all want to see justice.”
Attorney Thomas Eoannou represents the vehicle’s owner. When asked whether he will seek a court order to release the vehicle, he tells News 4, “I would hope not, as a release has already been executed. But if necessary, we will.”