Tonawanda News

Local News

November 20, 2012

Teen who drove into town storefront in critical condition

Tonawanda News — A teenager barreled his car into a Town of Tonawanda barbershop early Sunday morning and is now in critical condition, according to police.

The 19-year-old driver, James E. Barton, of the town, hit the southeast side of the Colvin Highland Barbershop around 2:44 a.m. 

When authorities arrived on the scene, they found Barton’s 2003 Hyundai Elantra partially inside the structure. Barton was inside the gray, four-door car and was unconscious.

Paramedics treated the driver and sent him to Erie County Medical Center.

According to the police report, Barton’s mother said her son was not on any drugs, although he did drink occasionally.

She also said Barton left the house around 9 p.m. Saturday, but she wasn’t sure where he was going.

The barbershop, located at 256 Highland Parkway, suffered extensive damages.

“It will need extensive repairs to become inhabited again,” the report states.

The cost of the damages have yet to be determined and the case was turned over to the department’s accident investigation unit.

Anthony Pinzone, the owner of the barbershop, said the damage was “very bad” and will likely put him out of business for quite a while.

“I hope I can be back as soon as possible,” he said. “ I need my business.”

This was the second time his business has been hit by a car. A similar incident happened about 16 or 17 years ago, according to Pinzone.

Barton, who is studying biomedical sciences at the University of Buffalo, has not yet been charged as a result of the accident, according to Lt. Nick Bado.

“But that’s not to say there won’t be any charges,” Bado said. “Our accident investigators work closely with the district attorney’s office to determine if any are appropriate.”

In addition to the town police, the Ellwood Volunteer Fire Department and the town’s Building Department also reported to the scene. The cause of the crash remains under investigation.

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

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

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