The tragic car accident at a border checkpoint in Niagara Falls, New York, on Wednesday, killed a local couple who owned several businesses in the area. The authorities are investigating whether a mechanical failure, a medical condition, or some other factor caused the crash.The victims were identified as Kurt P Villani and Monica Villani, both 53 years old. They were driving a 2022 Bentley Flying Spur, a luxury car that costs about $200,000. The Villani family runs a chain of hardware stores and a lumber company in the Buffalo region.
According to Niagara Falls mayor Robert Restaino, the couple may have been going to a Kiss concert in Canada, but the show was canceled hours before. The Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino, which is located near the Rainbow Bridge where the accident occurred, confirmed that the couple had briefly visited the facility before the crash.The accident happened when the Bentley sped through an intersection at the bridge, hit a low median, and flew into the air. The car then crashed into a row of security booths and exploded into flames.
Niagara Falls police superintendent John Faso said that the investigation was still in its early stages and that it would take time to determine the cause of the crash.
“They’ll look for mechanical issues, weather issues, whether this was a medical event,” Faso said.
“We’re going to be looking at everything. Speed, mechanical issues, whatever information we can get from it.”
The crash initially sparked fears of a possible terrorist attack and led to the closure of several border crossings with Canada. Some media reports also claimed that there were explosives involved in the incident.
However, the FBI ruled out any evidence of terrorism or explosives and handed over the case to the local police, who are treating it as a traffic accident.
“It’s one thing to piece together a seen or an intact vehicle – you can go from here,” Faso said.