OWN OF ROYALTON (WIVB) – A man and his dog were killed very early Monday morning in two separate car accidents only twenty minutes apart.
Bob Strassel, a 55-year-old Royalton man, was hit by a twenty-three year old driver after Strassel had removed the remains of his pet yellow lab. The dog had been struck and killed by another driver in front of the Strassel home. His owner was going to scrub the street when he was hit.
Frank Wagner and his wife, who are neighbors across the street, happened to be awake when they heard the commotion.
“We looked around and then we thought somebody hit a deer, and after staring across the road in the dark there, we found out that it was Bob’s dog,” said Wagner.
A Niagara County Sheriff’s deputy had been writing-up the report of the dog at the scene when Strassel was hit.
“The deputy’s pretty shook up,” said Lt. Brian Harrer of the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office. “He’s a young deputy and to happen before his eyes, it’s pretty traumatic,” said Harrer.
Wagner had realized something more had happened when the activity across the street became more intense.
“I see the cop with a flashlight going back and forth,” Wagner said. “I went over and there’s Bob laying in the ditch.”
The deputy rendered first aid. Strassel was then airlifted to the Erie County Medical Center where he later died.
The woman who hit the dog has not been charged. The driver from Barker who hit the dog’s owner is still being investigated.
Lt. Harrer said both drivers remained at the scene and are cooperating with authorities.
Harrer said the male driver passed sobriety tests and consented to give a sample of his blood.
“We took his cell phone. We’re going to see if he was on his cell phone. We’re going to take all the necessary precautions,” said Harrer.
Neighbor Bill Teaven said this was the fifth accident on this stretch of Akron Road near Dysinger since May.
“I actually pulled somebody out of a car…the first week I was here, and Mercy Flight took (him) away. And now this is the second bad one,” he said. Ironically, that accident also happened in front of Strassel’s home.
Teaven said people go too fast on Akron Road. However, there is no indication that speed was a factor in the deaths of Bob Strassel and his dog. Lt. Harrer said it was very dark at the time.
Nevertheless, Teaven says he will attempt to launch a petition drive to make the road safer for Royalton residents.
Frank Wagner’s said his wife also was involved in an accident in the same location.
He believes the tragic accidents Monday morning may lead to some action, or at least cause motorists to slow down.
“Maybe some other families wouldn’t have to go through all this suffering,” he said.