BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — A 20-year-old has been charged with two counts of criminally negligent homicide following a fatal crash that occurred in March.
On the night of March 2, police in Lancaster responded to a vehicle that crashed into a tree and caught fire on Warner Road. As a result of the crash, Ryan Stencel’s two passengers, Mackenzie Mycek and Molly Kaminski were killed.
In a conference that followed Stencel’s court appearance Wednesday afternoon, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said the defendant, Mycek and Kaminski were friends who were on their way to another friend’s house in Getzville when the crash occurred.
All three people in the vehicle were 19 at the time. At some point during the northbound drive, Flynn says Stencel lost control of the vehicle, causing it to spin around before the back of it struck a tree.
In this particular model of vehicle, a 2007 Infiniti, the gas tank was located in the back of the vehicle. The collision caused this to ignite, burning the car “beyond recognition,” Flynn says.
Kaminski was in the front passenger seat at the time of the crash, while Mycek was in the back. The teens were killed as a result of both blunt force trauma and thermal injuries.
When asked why it took 11 months to reach the point when Stencel was indicted on the two counts of criminally negligent homicide, Flynn noted that the state of the vehicle presented both logistical and investigative challenges.
“Our main piece of physical evidence, which is a car, was burnt, and burnt to a crisp,” Flynn said.
Although he was unable to comment on the toxicology report for Stencel, Flynn says it came back negative for the two other teens.
“There was clearly no evidence to arrest him at the scene. Even a few months afterward, there was still no evidence to arrest him,” Flynn said.
Cash bail for Stencel was set at $50,000. He could spend up to four years behind bars if he’s convicted.
Flynn’s full press conference can be viewed below.
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Evan Anstey is an Associated Press Award, JANY Award and Emmy-nominated digital producer who has been part of the News 4 team since 2015. See more of his work here and follow him on Twitter.