CLARENCE CENTER, N.Y. (WIVB) — Residents living along Tonawanda Creek Road who witnessed Sunday morning’s fatal crash say they woke Monday still shaken.
“I heard, ‘Bang,’ like an airplane bang, quite loud,” said Jeanne Bass, who lives across the street. “And I jumped up and went to the front window. I looked twice and I saw part of the car behind that tree. And I became hysterical.”
Bass said she yelled for her husband, and he ran out the door, shirtless, in the freezing morning.
“The bang just goes over and over in our heads, you know,” she said.
On Monday, flowers marked the gouged tree hit by the vehicle driven by 19-year-old Shelby Adamczak, of Clarence. The Erie County Sheriff’s Office says the car veered off Tonawanda Creek Road, hit the tree and then a fence before coming to rest.
Fresh tracks in the soil show its final path.
Molly Gibson, who also lives across the street, helped her father tend to the victims.
“I saw my neighbors out at the car, helping who they could and reassuring everyone that help was coming and that help was on the way,” Gibson said.
“You just never know what’s going to happen, don’t ever take anything for granted,” she added. “Nobody woke up on Sunday thinking a tragedy was going to occur. You just don’t take any day for granted. It’s sad.”
Four others were in the car at the time of the crash. The status of their injuries wasn’t known late Monday, although deputies on the scene Sunday told News 4 at least one other person was seriously injured.
Shelby later died from her injuries.
“It’s just too young,” Gibson said. “It’s just not supposed to happen in that way or at that age. I can’t imagine the families or friends, like I don’t even know them and I’m just very distraught by the situation.”
Residents said the stretch of road is dangerous, and it’s frequently an area where drivers zip along without traffic, enforcement or room for error.
Tonawanda Creek Road is narrow and void of guiderails. Just feet separate the street from front yards or trees, like the one involved in Sunday’s crash.
“This is awful,” Bass said. “We’ve tried to get help. Everybody’s tried to get help. They go at least 70 mph all the time. It’s unbelievable.
“There’s never any type of restrictions or anybody watching. It’s just, they think they’re going straight, especially if you don’t live here. There are these curves, and if you’re in the path of somebody, you can’t get out of the way. There’s no where to get out of the way.”
It’s also the second time tragedy has struck the Adamczak family. In 2009, Shelby’s older sister, Emily, died after suffering a heart attack while player soccer for Akron High School.