Niagara Falls woman indicted in fatal crash

Emergency crews work at the scene of a fatal car crash at Hyde Park Boulevard and Porter Road early Saturday morning. (Photo by RobShots)

LOCKPORT — A Niagara County grand jury has indicted a Falls woman on 54 counts stemming from a July 4 fatal crash in the city,

Breanna Best, 24, faces multiple counts each of aggravated vehicular homicide, vehicular manslaughter, aggravated vehicular assault, first-degree vehicular assault and driving while intoxicated. She was arraigned Tuesday afternoon before State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. and entered a plea of not guilty.

Best had previously been charged, in a criminal complaint, with second-degree vehicular manslaughter, four counts of driving while intoxicated by drugs and alcohol, aggravated unlicensed operation of a vehicle and reckless driving. She was also charged with vehicle and traffic law violations including driving while registration suspended, speed in zone, no seat belt, no insurance and uninspected motor vehicle and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

At her arraignment on those charges in August in Falls City Court, Best was released from custody on conditions and placed under the supervision of the county probation department's pre-trial services. Kloch continued those conditions, which include a GPS monitor and a curfew, pending further proceedings in the case.

Best is charged in connection with a crash that took the life of Precious Cox. The case had led to protests outside Falls police headquarters when Cox's family felt that investigators were not moving quickly enough to bring charges against Best.

The 27-year-old Falls woman was killed in a grinding crash in the early morning hours of July 4. Cox and three other women were in a 2009 Dodge Avenger when it slammed into a home at Porter Road and Hyde Park Boulevard.

Investigators said the Dodge was traveling west on Porter Road and continued straight across Hyde Park Boulevard, striking the front porch of a house in the 2000 block of the boulevard. The impact left Cox, who had been sitting in a rear passenger-side seat of the vehicle, severely injured.

She was rushed to Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, where she later died from her injuries.

Best, who had been driving the vehicle, was extricated by Falls firefighters and transported by ambulance to the Erie County Medical Center for treatment. 

A female front-seat passenger was also hospitalized at ECMC and has since been released. A female passenger who was in the rear seat on the driver’s side of the Avenger was taken to ECMC that morning, where she was treated and released.

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