Crash Encounter Leads to Conviction of Grand Island Man for Depraved Indifference Murder

Buffalo, New York – A Grand Island man was found guilty by an Erie County Court jury of 10 felonies, including depraved indifference murder, in connection with a fatal crash that took the life of an 18-year-old Buffalo man and injured four others in March 2023.

The jury deliberated for hours before convicting Ronald F. Olson II, 44, of murder and assault charges related to the incident. The crash occurred when an SUV carrying five young men collided with a light pole and tree on Main Street.

According to prosecutors, Olson had encountered the young men at a gas station on Main Street, where he attempted to sell them clothing items. Believing that the items were stolen, Olson pursued the SUV after they left the gas station, ultimately causing the vehicle to veer off the road.

Tragically, the driver of the SUV, Jarel Buchanan, perished at the scene, while the four passengers – teenagers between the ages of 17 and 19 – sustained serious injuries in the crash.

During the trial, the jury requested to re-watch a video of Olson’s interview with the police, in which he claimed to have been robbed by the young men and denied intentionally hitting their vehicle. Olson expressed regret for the outcome but maintained that the young men should not have mistreated him.

In addition to the second-degree murder charge, Olson was also found guilty of multiple assault charges. Following the verdict, defense attorney Daniel DuBois announced plans to file an appeal on behalf of Olson.

Olson, who had been in custody since his arraignment in November 2023, will remain remanded until his sentencing, scheduled for August 20. The case was prosecuted by Paul Glascott and Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Marino from the District Attorney’s Office. Despite being initially indicted on 11 felonies, one assault charge was dismissed as a lesser-included offense to the murder charge.