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    Blasdell neighborhood honors memory of 8-year-old killed by alleged drunk driver

    By Sarah Minkewicz,


    BLASDELL, N.Y. (WIVB) – The Western New York community is wrapping its arms around a local family whose 8-year-old son was killed by an alleged drunk driver on Saturday night in Hamburg.

    Homes in Blasdell and across WNY are lit up in orange, which was Thomas Ross’ favorite color, to show support for his family.

    “My heart goes out to them,” Blasdell resident Dianna Arnst said. “It’ll be something they’ll never ever forget and neither will anyone else. This is a very close community, one square mile of heaven, and it affects everybody.”

    Arnst is one of many residents decorating her home in orange to show support for the family.

    “It’s the way neighborhoods used to be, and how they should still be,” she said. “When something like that, a tragic thing happens, people should come up and see what they can do to help. Just give them your heart.”

    “Whether it be showing their support with the lights — I know a GoFundMe was started, and a lot of money was raised to help them,” Anthony Zofuto, whose home is lit up in orange, said. “It kind of helps them get through this loss on a greater scale rather than being alone through the whole thing.”

    Town of Hamburg Police say his mother was driving on Route 5 when 52-year-old Markus Genovese slammed into the back of her vehicle. According to police, Genovese was allegedly drunk and on drugs at the time of the crash.

    Genovese allegedly fled the scene, attempting to hide in a nearby backyard. He was apprehended by Town of Hamburg Police and taken to ECMC where he was placed under arrest on the following charges:

    • DWI, DWI by the combination of alcohol and narcotics
    • first-degree vehicular manslaughter
    • second-degree vehicular manslaughter
    • felony aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle
    • leaving the scene of a fatal auto accident
    • third-degree assault
    • numerous other vehicle and traffic law violations

    “I mean it’s horrible. This is an 8-year-old little boy who was exactly where he was supposed to be, coming back from the beach with his mom and his brother, and he is gone. I mean it’s devastating for this family,” Erie County District Attorney Michael Keane said.

    Genovese was held without bail and is scheduled to appear in Hamburg Town Court June 13. If convicted of the highest charge against him, Genovese could spend up to 15 years in prison.

    “This family is going to be be dealing with this for the rest of their lives and at the very least we should be able to get them justice in the criminal prosecution of the man who caused this accident and this horrible loss,” Keane said.

    Sarah Minkewicz is an Emmy-nominated reporter and Buffalo native who has been a part of the News 4 team since 2019. Follow Sarah on Twitter @SarahMinkewicz and click here to see more of her work.

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