Tonawanda Man Indicted on Vehicular Manslaughter Charge for Killing Bicyclist While Driving High on Cannabis

Modified: November 1, 2021 3:41pm

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Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 25-year-old Zaire N. Pittman of Town of Tonawanda was arraigned this morning before Erie County Court Judge Kenneth Case on an indictment charging him with one count of Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree (Class “D” felony) and one count of Driving While Ability Impaired by a Drug (Class “A” misdemeanor).

It is alleged that on Friday, May 7, 2021, at approximately 11:30 p.m., the defendant was driving a vehicle, while under the influence of cannabis, when he hit a female bicyclist on East Ferry Street near Wohlers Avenue in the City of Buffalo. The victim, 54-year-old Carolyn Carter, died at the scene.

Pittman is scheduled to return on Tuesday, December 14, 2021 at 3:00 p.m. for motions. He remains released on $50,000 bail previously posted in Buffalo City Court.

If convicted of all charges, Pittman faces a maximum of 7 years in prison.

“This defendant is accused of driving while high on marijuana, which resulted in the tragic death of this woman. While it is now legal for a person to smoke or consume cannabis in New York State, it remains illegal for a person to drive a vehicle while high. It is my duty as District Attorney to ensure that our roads remain safe. If you are caught driving under the influence of marijuana, alcohol or any other illicit substance, you will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” said Erie County District Attorney John Flynn.

DA Flynn commends the Buffalo Police Department for their work in the investigation.  

The case is being prosecuted by Chief Paul J. Glascott of the Vehicular Crimes Bureau.