Tonawanda News

June 20, 2013


Staff reports
The Tonawanda News

Tonawanda News — CAMBRIA — A 20-year-old member of the Lewiston Police Department’s Explorer Post was killed in a motorcycle accident at North Ridge Road and Church Road in Cambria just after 9 p.m. Tuesday.

Lewiston police said Thomas J. Burley of Youngstown was on his way home from Firefighter 1 training on Church Road in the Town of Cambria when his motorcycle collided with a van head-on. 

The driver of the van, a 37-year-old woman, was not hurt.

Niagara County Sheriff’s deputies say they were called to the scene about 9 p.m. for a report of an accident involving a motorcycle and a minivan.

The motorcyclist was found laying on the edge of the roadway in critical condition. EMS personnel from Cambria Volunteer Fire Co. were quickly on the scene and transported the driver of the motorcycle to Mount St. Mary’s Hospital in Lewiston where he was pronounced dead, according to the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies said it appeared the motorcycle was traveling west on North Ridge Road, crossed over the center line and was struck by the minivan, which was traveling east. 

The accident is being investigated by the sheriff’s accident investigation team.

Burley had been in the Lewiston Youth Explorer post for more than three years and became the commanding Explorer. He was also part of the Air Force Military Police and an active member of the Youngstown Volunteer Fire Dept. He was a police officer with the Security Force of the 107th Air Wing.

Burley was planning on putting himself through the Military Police Academy in hopes of becoming an officer with Lewiston or Youngstown police departments.

The Lewiston police released a statement, saying, “Tom no doubt, would have made an excellent police officer someday. There will always be a seat in our patrol cars for Tom.”

Burley was born in Williamsville on June 16, 1993, the son of Kathleen A. Forti of Youngstown and Timothy A. Burley of Grand Island. He graduated from Lewiston-Porter High School in 2011 and worked at Lorrick Farms for the past two years.

The family will be present on Friday from 3 to 9 p.m. at the Rhoney Funeral Home in Lewiston. A Mass of Christian Burial is set for 10 a.m. Saturday at St. Peter’s Catholic Church, 620 Center St. with the Rev. Michael P. Zuffoletto officiating.