SALAMANCA, N.Y. — Salamanca Town Councilman Wayne Riddle was one of several people sharing their reaction after learning long-time Supervisor Michael Phillips and his wife, Donna, town clerk-elect, were hit by a car Friday night.
"I was in a stupor. And sick to my stomach," Riddle (R) said. "Just two super people we're going to miss. They were so very organized and detailed that we didn't have to worry about anything as a board."
The two were literally walking across the street from their home to the town hall on Route 353 and died at the scene. Cattaraugus County lawmakers also worked with the couple on a number of projects. One legislator also attended Our Lady of Peace with them in Salamanca, where Donna served as a Eucharistic minister. She also worked as a long-time secretary for the Salamanca School District before she retired.
"You're just numb. Our prayers and thoughts are for everybody that's affected by this. The neighbors, and the family, and that board. Our hearts are really with them," said Susan Labuhn, (D) District 5 Cattaraugus County legislator. "They just were very caring, giving people. Personally, it's a big loss. And professionally, the county is there to help, but it's going to take time to wrap ourselves around this."
Town leaders say the deputy supervisor will take over in the interim, as the board is expected to meet later this month.
Kevin Donaldson Jr., 27, of Cattaraugus is charged with DWI and two counts of second-degree vehicular manslaughter in the fatal accident.
Donaldson was set for a hearing Monday night, but posted bail and his attorney requested an adjournment.
His next appearance will be in January, but that hearing will most likely be waived and the case will be sent to Cattaraugus County Court.