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8 years later, family still fighting for answers

by Patrice Walsh

Greece, N.Y. -- Stephanie Oliva left home to get pizza with her boyfriend and was killed an hour later in a terrible car accident.

She was a passenger in a car driven by her boyfriend Chad Kenyon. That car turned in front of another car on West Ridge Road in Greece in November of 2005.

Stephanie's parents didn't learn their daughter had died until hours later.

The Oliva's suspected from the start that there was more to that crash than police were telling them.

They have spent the last 8 years fighting for answers. Former Greece Police Sergeant Brian Ball handled the accident investigation and was initially charged with falsifying toxicology reports.

He was later cleared by a Monroe County Grand Jury.

But the Oliva's maintain that Ball's work at the accident scene was shoddy and rushed and that he closed the case without investigating it properly. They say both drivers were suspected of having drugs and alcohol in their systems, yet neither was charged.

They convinced State Police to investigate the accident during a sweeping probe of the Greece Police Department in 2009.

That investigation seemed to confirm some of the Oliva's suspicions about how the crash was handled.

Police determined: "the accident wasn't properly investigated." They also found that evidence from the crash scene was destroyed without permission from the district attorney's office. The report concluded that those facts prevented prosecutors from investigating this as a manslaughter case.

That information is part of a federal lawsuit the family has filed against the town of Greece, its police chief and officers at the time of the crash and the two drivers.

They are seeking two-million dollars in damages, but the Oliva's said this isn't about money. They want justice and answers about what really happened that night.

But they are once again worried they could get shut down. The town of Greece has asked a judge to dismiss the case.

A federal judge will make a decision in the next week whether the case can proceed.

The Olivas hope someday to  learn what really happened.

They continue to honor their daughter with a memorial at the spot where she was killed.

But won't be at peace until they learn why so many mistakes were made that November night eight years ago.

 
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Washington Times