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Gowanda Community Mourning After Accident

GOWANDA — A village and community are in mourning after a serious accident claimed one life and left another resident in serious condition on Thursday afternoon.

Gowanda Police Department and the Gowanda Volunteer Fire Department reported that Elizabeth Tonello, 27, of 93 Johnson St., died after a horrific accident at 12:41 p.m. on Sand Hill Road. Police report her vehicle had been traveling west and appeared to cross into the eastbound lane when it struck a vehicle head on that was traveling east. The vehicle was being operated by Neal Bennett of Route 438.

Bennett was transported to ECMC in Buffalo by Mercy Flight and was listed in serious condition.

Tonello had been responding to a family emergency at the time of the accident. In a GoFundMe account set up Thursday evening, it mentions the death of her father.

Here is the narrative from this page:

“Today we lost a beautiful and amazing young lady Lizzy and her father John. John left behind his beautiful wife Terry of 45 years.

“He also left behind 11 children, oldest to youngest John, Matt, Dan, Dave, Jeremiah. Theresa, Mary, Sarah, Rebecca, Rachel, Eliana . He was self employed after spending some time working at Cliffstar.

“Lizzy liked to go on walks and read and loved playing with her nieces and nephews. She worked at Gowanda High school assisted children with special needs and Creekside Market. Lizzy loved helping others. She taught the kids how to mow. She loved to be outdoors and she loved when the family got together. She also loved attending her church at Gowanda Free Methodist.

“If you could spare even $5 that would mean so much for this family. They are such amazing, kind hearted, and loving family, friends, and church members.”

As of Friday afternoon, there were 293 donors with more than $17,000 raised with a $25,000 goal. The GoFundMe site is https://gofund.me/e48e31bf

An investigation into the crash is being handled by State Police. Collins and Collins Center fire companies assisted with extrication at the scene, traffic control and setting up the landing zone for Mercy Flight at the Gowanda Fire Hall.

“Our sincere heartfelt prayers and condolences go out to the individual families involved,” the Gowanda Volunteer Fire Department noted in a Facebook post.

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