Driver arrested after fatal hit-and-run crash in Cheektowaga, victim identified

CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Cheektowaga man pleaded not guilty to a long list of charges Friday morning, after police say he hit a bicyclist with his SUV then took off.

The crash happened around midnight, near the intersection of Shanley and Richards, across the street from Partner’s Pizza.

Police say an 18-year-old man was riding his bicycle on Shanley, when Paul Hintermeier, 36, sped through a stop sign on Richard Drive and turned left onto Shanley, hitting the bicyclist and leaving him critically hurt.

Family of the cyclist tell News 4 that he passed away Saturday afternoon. He was identified as Cheektowaga resident Damian Garra.

His organs were donated.

Police say Hintermeier drove away from the scene, but pieces of the vehicle that were left on the ground after the crash helped police track it down.

Police say they found Hintermeier’s SUV at his house shortly after the crash. They impounded the vehicle and took the driver, who was at home, into custody.

Hintermeier is charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in serious injury, vehicular assault, aggravated unlicensed operation, DWI, having an open container of alcohol in a motor vehicle, refusing to take a breathalyzer test, and several traffic violations.

He pleaded ‘not guilty’ to the charges when he was arraigned.

The judge originally ordered Hintermeier to be held on $10,000 bail but increased that to $100,000 cash or $250,000 bond after hearing arguments from assistant District Attorney Christopher Gresham in court. “This defendant is accused of leaving the scene of a serious injury accident, which in and of itself points to him being a flight risk ,” Gresham told the judge. “He has prior aggravated unlicensed operation arrests in his history, which is suggestive of his willful disobeyance of mandates of the court.”

Cheektowaga Police say more charges are pending against Hintermeier.

On Wednesday, Hintermeier was held without bail, pending consideration by a grand jury for manslaughter charges.

The crash is still under investigation.

Anyone who may have witnessed it is urged to call the Cheektowaga Police Accident Investigation Unit at 686-3580.

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