FBI Investigates Deadly New Year’s Crash

FBI Investigates Deadly New Year's Crash

(RepublicanPress.org) – A fiery crash outside an western New York concert venue claimed three lives and sent four others to a local hospital less than an hour after the clock struck midnight, bringing in the new year. The circumstances surrounding the deadly incident led to the FBI getting involved in the investigation.

On December 1, Rochester Police Department (RPD) Chief David Smith and Mayor Malik Evans held a press conference to provide the media with details surrounding the crash and the ongoing investigation into the deadly incident. Smith advised that the suspect, 35-year-old Michael Avery, struck an Uber exiting a parking lot at the Kodak Center, a sprawling performance art theater hosting a New Year’s Eve concert.

The Expedition burst into flames shortly after impact and sped through a pedestrian crosswalk, killing Avery. Sadly, both of the passengers in the backseat of the Uber were killed. The ride share’s driver was taken to a local hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. Additionally, three pedestrians were struck in the crosswalk and taken to Strong Hospital, one in critical condition. It took members of the Rochester Fire Department (RFD) roughly an hour to extinguish the blaze.

Smith told reporters that first responders found at least a dozen gas canisters in and around the Expedition. Based on the level of danger accompanying that discovery, a joint task force composed of fire department officials and the RPD’s bomb squad was called to the scene. It took firefighters roughly an hour to extinguish the blaze.

The police chief also advised reporters that a review of video of the crash indicated the pedestrians in the crosswalk may have been Avery’s intended targets. Smith said the suspect sped up, crossed into oncoming traffic, and appeared to have deliberately steered toward them.

Smith concluded his remarks by advising that his office was working with “our federal partners, including the FBI,” to determine the exact cause of the crash. FBI Special Agent in Charge Jeremy Bell later confirmed to media outlets that the agency’s Joint Terrorism Task Force was participating in the investigation. He noted that so far, investigators hadn’t found any evidence of “ideology and no nexus to terrorism,” foreign or domestic, related to the incident.

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