Police seek motive in fiery fatal crash in upstate New York; no terror link found
ROCHESTER, New York (AP) — A man who died after crashing an SUV loaded with gas cans outside an upstate New York concert venue appeared to have been aiming at a pedestrian crossing, but investigators have found no evidence that the crash that killed two ride-hail passengers early on New Year’s Day was terror-related, police said Tuesday.
Rochester police Chief David Smith told a news conference that the suspect in the crash, tentatively identified as Michael Avery of the Syracuse area, may have suffered from undiagnosed mental health problems. But officials say the motive remains unknown.
“I have been getting inundated with questions as to why this individual would choose … Rochester, New York, why he would choose to do this on New Year’s Day, and why he would appear to target concert goers trying to have a great time to bring in the new year,” Mayor Malik Evans said. “Those are all questions that have been raised, and things that we just don’t have answers to yet.”
The crash happened shortly before 1 am Monday as officers were directing traffic after a concert by a Grateful Dead tribute band let out at the Kodak Center theater complex.
A Ford Expedition struck a Mitsubishi Outlander, sending both vehicles through a group of pedestrians that were in the crosswalk.
Two passengers in the Outlander were killed. Avery died last night, according to Smith. At least nine pedestrians were injured, one with “life-altering” injuries, officials said.
The collision caused a blaze that took the fire department more than an hour to extinguish.