WHEATFIELD, N.Y. (WIVB) — An arrest has now been made nearly a year after a 16-year-old boy was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Niagara County.
Police began investigating the accident after Ryan M. Fischer succumbed to his injuries in the hospital a day later. Niagara County Sheriff’s Deputies say a car had crashed into Fischer on Krueger Road after sunset on Nov. 20.
On Monday, police announced the case is finally moving forward. Following a grand jury proceeding, officials say 40-year-old Anthony DiFilippo, of Wheatfield, is charged with several felonies, including leaving the scene of the crash that led to the the teen’s death, texting while driving and tampering with physical evidence. However, he is not facing a manslaughter charge.
DiFilippo’s name was released for the first time after a judge unsealed the grand jury’s indictment, handed up just hours prior to the unsealing.
Authorities say DiFilippo, a computer programmer, lives around the corner from where the accident took place, and was texting while driving at the time of the accident. An attorney for DiFilippo says he is innocent and pleaded not guilty to all charges.
“I think it’s a step in the right direction of healing for them,” Niagara County Sheriff Jim Voutour said of the arrest for Fischer’s family. “They’ll always miss their son. We are finally able to say we are prepared to hold someone responsible for leaving the scene of that accident.”
Fischer’s family worked with police for months after the crash, offering their help and support, and pleading to the public for information. They say they’re always going to relive what happened that tragic evening.
The teen walked home with his girlfriend early that snowy Thursday night last November, walking to her left so as to protect her from traffic. In the crash, Fischer did protect his girlfriend, but he lost his life in the process. They say the crash devastated their family.
“Knowing that your child’s never coming home, his little brother doesn’t have a big brother to look up to anymore, and that someone is out there knowing that they did this and not turning themselves in over it is heartbreaking,” Lisa Fischer, Ryan’s mother, said.
After the crash, police searched for a light silver sedan. They worked with evidence picked up on the scene, including a portion of the passenger side light, crushed off of the sedan after the crash. But the case seemingly stalled out.
Officers even announced a reward for information, but had to refresh the case months later — putting out a plea for help from the public as late as the end of February.
DiFilippo is being released on $20,000 bail.
A timeline of the investigation following Thursday, Nov. 20:
Nov. 20, 2014 — Ryan Fischer is struck by a sedan, taken to a hospital.
Nov. 21, 2014 — Fischer succumbs to his wounds.