Damaged SUV found at Lynch’s home after hit-run
Bills player was seen earlier near Chippewa
By Vanessa Thomas
Updated: 06/04/08 8:36 AM
SAVE EMAIL PRINT POPULAR Digg it del.icio.us + Larger Font Google Yahoo - Smaller Font
Marshawn Lynch is not talking on advice of his attorney.
COMMENT ON THIS STORY at Inside the News, 'Special treatment for Lynch?'
Soon after Marshawn Lynch’s SUV struck a woman on a Chippewa Street corner early Saturday morning, police discovered the hit-and-run vehicle parked in his driveway, The Buffalo News learned Tuesday.
Law enforcement sources said Buffalo police, assisted by Hamburg police, found the black 2008 Porsche Cayenne in the driveway of the Buffalo Bills running back’s Hamburg home — just one to two hours after the accident.
The vehicle, which is registered to Lynch, had damage that linked it to the scene, sources said. But when investigators knocked on his door, no one answered, the sources added.
The sources also disclosed that Lynch had been spotted in the area of Chippewa Street not long before the incident.
Police officials declined to comment on these revelations.
“I think it’s fair to say that, if Mr. Lynch was not driving the vehicle, he probably has a pretty good idea who was,” Buffalo police spokesman Michael J. DeGeorge said Tuesday, following a news conference at Police Headquarters.
“At no point has Mr. Lynch reported his vehicle had been stolen that police are aware of,” he added.
But four days after the incident, police say they still have been unable to talk to Lynch. Lynch’s attorney finally contacted police Monday afternoon, after accident investigators spent three days “reaching out” to the football star to get some explanation about the incident.
The victim suffered two large bruises near her hip and received seven stitches.
Sources said one police officer, who is regularly assigned to the Chippewa detail, recognized the Cayenne as the SUV that Lynch previously has driven in the area. The officer was among the witnesses who identified Lynch’s SUV, placing it at the scene of the accident, sources said.
DeGeorge would only describe Lynch as “a key figure” in what he called a fairly typical hit-and-run probe.
Criminal charges will be laid soon against whoever was driving the SUV, police say. The most serious charge would be leaving the scene of an accident — a Class A misdemeanor, which is punishable by a maximum of one year in jail.
“Charges are going to be filed at some point,” DeGeorge said. “No question about that.”
It is also possible Lynch could face a misdemeanor charge of obstructing governmental administration.
“It’s possible that, if this drags out, he could face an obstruction charge, but he has the Fifth Amendment right to not incriminate himself,” said the Police Department spokesman.
The victim, Kelly Shpeley, 27, of Milton, Ont., was attempting to cross the street at Delaware Avenue and West Chippewa at about 3:30 a. m. Saturday when she was struck.
Shpeley was walking east from the southwest corner when the westbound vehicle made a left turn at the intersection and struck her, according to the accident report.
The SUV failed to stop and continued south on Delaware. Police recovered pieces from the vehicle as evidence.
When officers recovered Lynch’s SUV at his Hamburg home, it had front-end damage on the passenger side and also had damage to the passenger-side door, the sources said.
Shpeley was taken to Buffalo General Hospital, where she was treated and released.
The city’s surveillance camera system “caught something” at the crash site, police said, but officials are not releasing that tape because it is being held as evidence.
“The Buffalo Police Department is still investigating this matter,” said Lynch’s attorney Michael Caffery. “At the present time, I decline to make any comment on behalf of my client. I have also instructed my client not to make any comment.”
DeGeorge maintains that Lynch’s representatives have been “cooperating,” adding that no special treatment is being given to the football star.
“Unless we start getting some answers, that vehicle does not leave the [police] garage,” he insisted. “The ball is in their court. The clock is ticking. . . . We hope to hear from them shortly.”
Lynch on Tuesday participated in the Bills’ 90-minute practice session at the Bills’ field house in Orchard Park.
Bills quarterback Trent Edwards said he knew of no discussion about the hit-and-run incident in the locker room.
“To be honest, I haven’t heard anything about it,” Edwards said.
Under the terms of the NFL’s Personal Conduct Policy, discipline by the NFL commissioner may be imposed for a criminal offense or for “conduct that imposes an inherent danger to the safety and well-being of another person.”
The policy states that “unless the case involves significant bodily harm, a first offense will generally not result in discipline unless there has been a disposition of the proceeding.”
News Sports Reporter Mark Gaughan and Reporter Matt Gryta contributed to this story