Friends and family of crash victims share their thoughts

Local News

Erie County Lyell Cook says there is no testing that can be done to see if it was a medical emergency that caused the accident.  Cook says it’s very difficult, even with surveillance video, to prove what caused the accident.

He says because of the condition of the bodies, it’s not possible for any testing to be done to see if anything medical could have caused the accident.  He says he can’t even do toxicology in this case.  However, he does not believe any alcohol or drugs were involved.  But, at this point, the determination will remain to be ‘accidental death’ for the three men.

Cook tells us, “The normal details we would have from a routine motor vehicle accident is completely gone in this particular case. Simply because of the distance and the debris field and the injuries and everything else. It’s just, there’s really very little more that we can do about it.”

The families of those three men are left with only questions, while mourning the loss of their loved ones.  All three men lived at the Methodist Towers on the same floor.  Residents say the building doesn’t feel the same without the three men there.  The only word residents and family can use to describe this tragedy is heartbreaking.

Oscar Johnson’s brother, Dwight, reflects on the life he lived.  He says he was a beautiful person and brought nothing but joy and love to the family.  Dwight Johnson says the three were beyond best friends and will be missed by so many.  

All three men left a mark on the community.  Johnson states, “we’re hurting.  All the families are hurting, but we’ll get through it…  They were three peas in a pod. No matter how hot the pot got, they would stick it out together.”

All three were involved in the House of Prayer Church.  Johnson’s brother says they just wanted to try and positively impact the community.  The family left with only questions, and; unfortunately, they may never get the funerals to honor their lives. 

Friends of the three men say they were often seen outside Methodist Towers, where they lived, laughing, socializing and talking with friends and residents.

James Barnett, Friend and Resident of Methodist Towers, tells us, “I’m heart broken, man. I’m really torn up because to me they were like my older brothers, the brothers I didn’t have…  They’re going to be missed.  I mean really, really missed, man.”

Barnett describes them as “fun loving…  Always there to put a smile on your face or had something funny or humorous to say.”  Barnett knew Barnes and Byrd for around 40 years, three men; beyond best friends.

The families are now just trying to plan the services and funerals to honor the men’s lives.

Annunziata says it does not appear to be a case of reckless driving and the accident could have been caused by a mechanical failure or medical issue.  We were told the car was only in Johnson’s possession for a week.

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