Webster woman charged with DWI in deadly Webster crash

Updated: 01/31/2014 5:17 PM
Created: 01/31/2014 10:46 AM WHEC.com
By: Joangel Concepcion

Webster Police say a driver who hit and killed an elderly man Thursday was drunk and on drugs.

The crash happened on Holt Road in Webster. Police say 77-year-old Martin Abkowitz was hit and killed. The driver, 65-year-old Cheryl Tobin, is charged with vehicular manslaughter, DWI and driving while ability impaired by drugs.

The family of Abkowitz and neighbors are speaking out. Abkowitz lived in Webster with his wife and two kids for more than 40 years. Reaction to his death has been mixed with sadness and anger after learning his life was cut short  by a driver who police say was drunk and was on drugs. 

Ginnie McConnell, neighbor, said, “I think it's horrible. How are you at 4 o'clock in the afternoon on influence on drugs and alcohol? At 4:00 p.m.? I mean, there are children arriving home from school and all kinds of things. How on earth can this happen in our community?”

News10NBC has learned that Abkowitz was an electronic materials researcher. He worked at Xerox for more than 30 years as a scientist and was recently a visiting scientist at the UR. 

News10NBC learned that he died doing what he loved. His family says he was an avid runner and loved to walk to the local Y almost every single day. His wife says he went for a walk Thursday because the temperatures warmed up a little.

The incident happened on Holt Road, a very short distance from Abkowitz’s home. It was actually only a block or so from where Cheryl Tobin was living. News10NBC stopped by the house she was staying at. 

Michelle Kirschbaum, Tobin’s family friend, said, “Our deepest condolences go to the family of the man who lost his life yesterday. It's a terrible thing that happened and we feel very sorry about that, but like I said, if you want to find out more about Cheryl and what happened and what her story is because all humans have stories. I would encourage you to reach out to her.”

Cheryl Tobin is still at the Monroe County Jail. Her bond is set at $100,000 or $50,000 cash bail. 

Abkowitz’s wife was too distraught to go on camera, but she did say that she hopes there will be justice not only for her husband, but for society. She says a tragedy like this affects all of us and that certainly rings true in the Webster community.

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