TOWN OF TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) — A Buffalo man, who police say stole a Kia and then dragged a Town of Tonawanda police officer 60 feet, is due back in court this month. The incident happened on Sheridan Parkside Drive back in May. The owner of the stolen car says dealing with all this has been a nightmare.
Gretchen Morgan never could have imagined when she bought her 2019 Kia it would be stolen and become the main piece of evidence in an attempted murder case.
“I felt guilt for the fact that, jeez, my car was involved in something, why would it be my car?” She asked.
Memorial Day weekend her car was stolen from her driveway in East Aurora.
“The dogs got me up at about 6:30 in the morning. My husband got up, went to the front window and I went out the back to let the dogs and he said, ‘Well, where’s your car?’ He said it in different terms,” she said. “I’m like what do you mean, where’s my car? I looked and my car was completely gone.”
Police say 19-year-old Dareious Akbar allegedly stole the car and drove it across Erie County, ending up in the Town of Tonawanda where police officer David Piatek pulled him over.
According to police, Akbar sped off, dragging and injuring the officer.
“I know it’s not my fault, but I don’t even want to pick that car up and drive in it,” Morgan said. “I want it gone as soon as possible. I will never own a Kia again. I just want to move on. I want to be whole from this and I feel sorry for everyone else going through similar circumstances.”
Morgan’s car is still being held as evidence due to the severity of the charges, and she has to wait to get it back. For the last five months, she says between car payments and insurance, she’s been paying $500 a month for a car she can’t drive. However, Erie County DA John Flynn said that the woman will get her car back on Friday.
According to Town of Tonawanda Supervisor Joseph Emminger, “possible remedies were discussed” and the Erie County District Attorney’s office “is going to work on those.” Law enforcement is expected to reach out to Morgan so that she has the proper contacts within the District Attorney’s office.
“I’m not in a financial position to get a new car. I’m not in a financial position to pay because my insurance only pays $30 per day up to $900 for 30 days. Where is that getting me? It’s five months later,” she said.
Akbar is due back in court Oct. 26. He faces a maximum sentence of 25 years in prison.