Moments before a car transporter hit a 15-year-old girl in Jamestown on New Year’s Eve, a passenger in the tractor-trailer let out a scream.
“I said, ‘There’s a person.’ I was screaming, “There’s a person – stop, stop, stop” Nicole Voty said at a January preliminary hearing in Jamestown City Court days after charges were filed against tractor-trailer driver Randall J. Rolison.
Asked by Chautauqua County District Attorney Jason Schmidt if she remembered her specific words at the time, Voty replied: “Yeah, ‘There’s a person, there’s a person.’ I was pretty maniacal, I was freaking out, but those were the words I said, yeah.
Details of the December 31 crash that claimed Alexis’ life “Lexy” Hughan emerged during the January 5 preliminary hearing. The transcripts were researched by The Post-Journal shortly thereafter and obtained this week.
Rolison, 58, faces charges of leaving the scene of a fatal traffic accident and driving while impaired by drugs. He is represented by County Public Defender Ned Barone, who along with Schmidt interviewed Voty and other witnesses during the preliminary hearing before City Court Judge John LaMancuso.
Voty was in the semi-finals with Rolison the day of the accident. She testified that they were at a red light on North Main Street in Jamestown waiting to turn right onto Sixth Street. They were on their way to the Chautauqua Mall where Voty planned to have lunch with her children before transporting the vehicles on the transporter to Florida.
Asked by Schmidt what happened when the light turned green on North Main Street, Voty said she believed the tractor-trailer briefly stalled. “It started like that, it stalled” she said. “He was spinning and it was humping. And that’s when I saw the girl, like, on the crosswalk.
Hughan’s body came to rest on West Sixth Street, just west of the Washington Street intersection.
Voty said Rolison didn’t mention seeing anyone and continued driving west toward the Lakewood Mall. “I didn’t feel or see anything” Voty said when asked if she felt anything inside the truck after spotting the pedestrian. “So I thought that was fine – I didn’t think we hit anyone. I had no idea.”
Rolison finally parked the tractor-trailer outside the mall.
Voty, when asked by Schmidt about what Rolison said after the crash, said he “I’ve never seen her. He didn’t see her.
When asked if he noticed seeing the pedestrian before making the turn, Voty replied: “On the sidewalk, yes. He saw her on the sidewalk before we stopped.
She added, “He just said he saw her on the sidewalk because I said I saw her, then he said he saw her on the sidewalk and I never saw her. sidewalk view. I just saw her on the crosswalk.
Barone reaffirmed to Voty that she felt nothing when the car transporter rounded the Sixth Street bend. He also asked if she had heard car horns honking or people yelling at them. “And while you were driving down Sixth Street, did you hear anyone – car horns beeping at you?” asked Baron.
She answered, “No.”
“Someone yelling at you?” the public defender followed.
“No,” she said.
“And anytime between Sixth Street and the Chautauqua Mall, did Mr. Rolison ever tell you that he knew he hit someone?” He asked.
Voty again said no.
Earlier at the preliminary hearing, Constable Alexis Carlson of the Jamestown Police Department spoke. Carlson was the first officer to respond to the Dec. 31 crash. She said it was apparent when she arrived at the scene that the pedestrian had died from his injuries.
THE CASE REMAINS ACTIVE
An investigation into the fatal accident is still ongoing. “We are working on this case closely with the Chautauqua County District Attorney’s Office,” Capt. Robert Samuelson of the Jamestown Police Department said this week.
The police department previously said additional charges may be announced pending toxicology results.
Carlson testified that she performed a “alert test” on Rollison in the parking lot of the mall to determine if there was alcohol present. No alcohol was detected during the alert test, she said.
Schmidt said the January preliminary hearing was to ensure that Rolison was detained for grand jury action.
Chautauqua County Court Judge David Foley in a January 19 hearing set Rolison’s bond at $35,000 cash, $70,000 bond for charges related to the fatal accident and $50,000 cash, $100,000 bond for the weapons possession charges.
Shortly after the crash, Rolison was charged with three counts of second-degree criminal possession of a weapon. The new charges, unrelated to the accident, were the result of unregistered handguns found in a storage unit Rolison rents.
“Since then, we have been actively engaged in the next stage of the process, working on the investigation and developing and evaluating the evidence, so that we can make appropriate charging decisions going forward,” Schmidt told the Post-Journal. “We are doing everything in our power to protect and preserve our right as a community to see justice done here.”
Records indicate that Rolison posted bond on February 4 and was later released from the Chautauqua County Jail.
KEEP YOURSELF INFORMED
Sara Rafaloski, Hughan’s mother, said in a telephone interview this week that the family had been kept informed of the investigation and appreciated the work done by the police and the prosecutor’s office.
Rafaloski also acknowledged the support the family has received over the past month and a half. A GoFundMe fundraiser raised just over $40,000, and Infinity Visual and Performing Arts partnered with community members to raffle off items.
“It’s been overwhelming with the support from the community,” Rafaloski said.