Niagara Falls police identify couple killed in Rainbow Bridge crash

Kurt Villani, 53, and his wife Monica Villani, 53, died in the fiery crash

Kelly Rissman
Friday 24 November 2023 15:32 GMT
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Rainbow Bridge: Surveillance footage shows car speeding moments before explosion

The couple tragically killed in the crash at the Rainbow Bridge crossing have now been identified.

Kurt Villani, 53, and his wife Monica Villani, 53, were residents of Grand Island, New York, Niagara Falls police announced on Friday.

“The City of Niagara Falls would like to extend our sincere condolences to the families as they deal with this tragedy,” police said in a statement.

Although little is known about the couple at this time, an obituary for Kurt Villani’s father revealed the pair are survived by two children.

The couple had been planning to attend a KISS concert in Toronto on Wednesday, but the gig was cancelled when frontman Paul Stanley fell ill with flu.

The Villanis instead headed to a casino near the border, CNN reported.

The crash took place when the pair left the casino.

The Bentley they were driving in rammed into the border crossing along Niagara Falls, which connects the US and Canada.

Dramatic footage captured the car speeding up before it hit a curb on the US side of the border.

The car then flew into the air and travelled over a fence before crashing into a border patrol booth, where it burst into flames.

A member of the Border Patrol stands guard as Homeland Security, Border Patrol, and local authorities block traffic to the Rainbow Bridge

Although initial fears of a terror attack circulated, officials said on Thursday that they had determined that the incident was “not a terrorist event”.

New York Gov Kathy Hochul said in a briefing that “there is no indication of terrorist involvement in the incident on the Rainbow Bridge in Niagara Falls at this time”.

In the wake of the incident, officials briefly closed all four border bridges between the two countries and grounded planes at nearby Buffalo Airport. They have since all reopened.

An investigation into the cause of the crash continues.

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