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Crash Kills Veterans Cheektowaga Police Detective

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Detective Wasyl Potienko

By Eileen Buckley

Cheektowaga, NY – The Cheektowaga Police Department is mourning the loss of a veteran officer who was killed in a horrible car crash Tuesday. An investigation into the cause of the accident continues.

Cheektowaga police detective Wasyl Potienko was driving in an unmarked police vehicle on Broadway in the Village of Sloan. Lt. John Glascott says the car was heading west-bound around noon when it was struck by a recycling truck near Lackawanna Avenue.

"A recycling truck belonging to Ed Arnold Recycling of Corfu and driven by 55-year old Paul Robbins of Attica was in the curb lane and struck Detective Potienko's vehicle," Glascott explained. "The police car then did spin into the east-bound lane of traffic and was struck on the passenger side door by a '90 Dodge truck."

Potienko was ejected from the car and died from his injuries at ECMC. The driver of the pickup truck, 32-year old Scott Shell of Buffalo, was trapped in his vehicle for a half-hour. As of Tuesday night, he was listed in stable condition at ECMC. The driver of the recycling truck was not hurt.

Lt. Glascott says he believes Potienko was simply heading to lunch.

"He was not going to any call," Glascott said. "There was no situation of an emergency operation. He was just going down the street."

Late Tuesday afternoon, investigators from the Erie County Sheriff's department and Cheektowaga police where examining skid marks in the road. No charges have been filed, pending the investigation.

The 43-year-old Potienko was a 15-year veteran of the department -- a detective with the Juvenile division. His colleagues called him by his nickname "Bill". Lt. Glascott describes him as a "good, hardworking" police officer who strived to help troubled Cheektowaga youth.

"He was a man with no enemies," Glascott said. "He was a man who did his job and did it well. He was well liked by everybody he came in contact with."

Potineko was married with no children. His colleagues say he just moved into a new home in Cheektowaga.