ELERY – A Village of Celoron man is facing several charges after the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office said he was driving while ability impaired by drugs and hit a tree head on.
Walter Whitfield, 42, is charged with failure to keep right, second-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, driving while ability impaired by drugs and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Deputies said Whitfield’s SUV was traveling on Route 430 near Lin Avenue when it left the roadway and struck a tree head on Friday.
Whitfield’s passenger, Barbara Houser, 33, of Stockton, had to be freed by fire personal from the wreck.
Deputies said she was flown to Hamot Hospital in Erie in serious condition.
Whitfield was transported by ambulance to UPMC Chautauqua Hospital and is reported to be in stable condition.
Deputies report Houser was also charged with seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Route 430 was reduced to one lane for several hours while New York State DOT officials removed the tree.
Further charges are pending further investigation of the crash. Anyone with information is asked to call the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office at 716-753-2131.