Modified: February 29, 2016 5:43pm
Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty, Jr. announces the indictment and arraignment of 51-year old Timothy Wisniewski, of Young St., in the City of Tonawanda and 18-year old Gregory Green, of 7th Avenue, North Tonawanda on charges stemming from a boating crash on Ellicott Creek in the Town of Tonawanda that claimed the life of 16-year old Avery Gardner of Lockport.
State Supreme Court Justice John Michalski unsealed the indictment today, charging Wisniewski with Criminally Negligent Homicide, two counts of Operating a Vessel While Under the Influence of Alcohol, Endangering the Welfare of a Child and Unlawful Possession of Marihuana.
Green, who was 17-years old at the time of the incident, has been charged with Criminally Negligent Homicide, three counts of Vehicular Manslaughter in the 2nd degree, two counts of Operating a Vessel While Under the Influence of Alcohol and Endangering the Welfare of a Child.
During the arraignment, the court learned that Wisniewski was out in his boat in the early morning hours on June 11, 2015 with two teenagers, Green and Gardner, after a night of drinking at his home. Wisniewski had a blood alcohol level of .13%, almost twice the legal limit and was also under the influence of pills and marijuana. The threesome brought beer and marihuana for the boat ride.
The court also learned that Green was intoxicated, with a BAC of .15%, nearly twice the legal limit and was under the influence of marihuana, as Green operated the boat at a high rate of speed and in a reckless manner. As the boat approached and went under a footbridge, Gardner’s head struck the footbridge, causing her death.
Wisniewski has a long criminal history that includes convictions for Robbery, Petit Larceny, Aggravated Harassment and DWI. As a second felony offender, if convicted of these charges, he faces mandatory state time with a sentence of up to 4 years.
Green faces up to 7 years in State Prison.
Acting District Attorney Flaherty credited The Town of Tonawanda Police Department for its exhaustive investigation into the case, spending hundreds of hours conducting interviews with assistance from several other agencies, including New York State Police and the Ellicott Creek Fire Department.
Assistant District Attorney Kelley Omel has been assigned to the case.
As are all persons accused of a crime, the defendants are presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.