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Driver flees after SUV strikes utility pole on South Jackson, Batavia, at 2 a.m.

By Howard B. Owens

An SUV going an estimated 70 to 80 mph on South Jackson Street at 2:01 a.m. struck a utility pole and continued westbound before hitting the front porch of a home and stopping.

At least two people, including, according to Sgt. Marc Lawrence, the driver, fled the scene on foot.

Lawrence said the driver is known to police and charges are pending.

The SUV struck the porch at 307 South Jackson, the residence of Rudo Mushonga, a registered nurse with the Community Health Center of Buffalo.

"I was in my house fast asleep and then I heard a bang, I mean a real big bang," Mushonga said. "So I got up and said, 'what's going on.'  I looked because my bedroom is right here (pointing to a second-floor window). I looked and I could see this trunk, this trunk right here (the bottom half of the telephone pole just a few yards from her house) and I thought, 'what another accident?' Because it has happened before. This little tree, the car kind of missed it and it went over there (into neighbor's yard).  But this time I didn't see this, because you can't see it from where I am.  So I got out, opened my front door ... "

"So I was worried," she added.  "Being a registered nurse, I'm worried about the people in the car. Do they need help? And the police officer said, 'no, they ran away.'"

As many as six people were in the vehicle. All were minors with the possible exception of the driver.  One person sustained minor injuries and was transported to UMMC by Mercy EMS for treatment and evaluation.  Some of the occupants remained on scene after the accident and were picked up by their parents.

Lawrence said that National Grid workers estimated the vehicle was doing from 70 to 80 mph based on the damage to the pole, which was sheared off at the base.

The vehicle was westbound on Chestnut when it continued onto South Jackson before striking the pole just a few yards from Jackson Street.

Mushonga said she bought her home about two years ago ("I've been here for two Christmases," she said). and loves her house and the neighborhood but there have been three similar accidents now right in front of her house.

Press release:

On Friday, June 24, 2022 at or about 2:02 a.m., Batavia Police Officers were dispatched to a car into a house in the area of South Jackson Street. Responding Officers, City of Batavia Fire Fighters, and neighbors quickly arrived on scene to assist with the investigation.

Initial reports from witnesses indicated four passengers including the driver fled on foot. Officers identified 4 other passengers who remained on scene (1 with minor injuries). Genesee County Sheriff's Office K9 - Rayzor and handler Deputy Stack were on duty and quickly responded to assist with a track of the individuals who fled on foot.

Through interviews, debris left at the scene and video surveillance, it is believed that the vehicle, a 2017 Toyota 4-Runner was operating at a high rate of speed eastbound on Chestnut Street. The vehicle failed to stop for the stop sign at the intersection of Chestnut St./Jackson St./S. Jackson St. subsequently failing to navigate the turn at the intersection.

The Toyota 4-Runner crossed into the westbound traffic lane on South Jackson Street striking the north curb, then a National Grid pole (shearing the pole in two spots), continuing over 100', finally coming to rest in the front porch of 305 S. Jackson Street.

The one minor injury was transported to UMMC by Mercy EMS. Additional passengers were transported to UMMC by private vehicles for evaluations.

After investigation, a total of eight occupants of the vehicle have been identified and the accident is still under investigation. Most occupants of the vehicle were minors including the alleged driver. Alcohol and marijuana are believed to be a contributing factors in the accident. Charges are pending.

The Batavia Police Department would like to thank the City of Batavia Fire Department, City of Batavia Department of Public Works, GCSO K9 Rayzor and handler Deputy Stack, and Mercy EMS for their assistance. We also greatly appreciate the citizens of Batavia who, without hesitation, became essential witnesses in this accident. Anyone with any further information is urged to contact Officer Girvin at the City of Batavia Police Department, 585-345-6350.

Reader-submitted video.  Photos by Howard Owens.





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