Tonawanda News

November 13, 2012

Two women killed by motorcyclist

By Jessica Bagley
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — Three pedestrians out for a Sunday walk were hit by a drunken motorcyclist in the Town of Amherst, according to police. Two of the victims died from their injuries.

The driver, David A. Smith, 53, of Niagara Falls, veered off Tonawanda Creek Road and hit the three victims on the parallel bike path at about 3:20 p.m.

Jocelyn B. Elberson, 25, of the Town of Tonawanda, and Sheila Pelton, 81, of East Amherst were pronounced dead at Millard Fillmore Suburban Hospital. 

Sheila Pelton’s husband, Foster Pelton, 79, was transported to ECMC. His condition is currently listed as serious. 

Smith was also sent to ECMC. His injuries were described as non-life-threatening. 

Erie County Assistant District Attorney Kelly Omel assisted the arresting officer in obtaining a court order to draw blood from Smith after the accident. He was charged with DWI and criminally negligent homicide.

Smith was arraigned on the charges Monday at 12:05 p.m. in the hospital and is being held without bail. 

A court date has been set for Nov. 15 in Amherst Town Court. 

The continuing investigation is being led by Senior Investigator Steven Larwood. Other charges may be pending as the investigation continues. Investigators are attempting to determine how fast Smith was driving and what exactly happened.

The crash took place between Campbell Boulevard and Hopkins Road.

Elberson was on a walk with her new puppy, mother and aunt when the incident occurred. The family did not know the Peltons, but had let them pass them on the path just a few moments before.

“My mother and aunt stopped to talk for a moment, and Jocelyn kept walking,” Brett Elberson, Jocelyn’s brother said. “In less than a second, the motorcycle came out and hit her. He never tried to stop, never tried to swerve.”

Jocelyn Elberson graduated from Kenmore West in High School in 2005 and has been working at Bonefish Grill at the Boulevard Mall.

She was living with her parents, Kathy and Chuck, at their McConkey Drive home.

Elberson was born with a mild form of Williams Syndrome, a genetic disorder that is characterized by medical problems and learning disabilities. 

Due to the diagnosis, she has had a series of medical procedures that started with an open heart surgery at the age of one-and-a-half.

And just six months ago, she underwent another open heart surgery.

“We didn’t know if she was going to make it out,” Brett Elberson said. “The doctors said there was a very good possibility that she wouldn’t.”

But the spirited young lady was able to push through and, before Sunday’s incident, was just starting to recover. She got a new puppy, and often walked the dog to exercise her new heart. 

“She had to fight her entire life to live,” Brett Elberson said. “As a person, she was like an angel. Whether you were with her for one minute or 10, she would give you that smile, and it was like a light turned on inside you.” 

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000, ext. 4150.