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That Bentley Border Crash: A Mechanical or Driver-Health Issue Suspected

Image from the video showing the accident and explosion at the Canada-U.S. border crossing in Niagara
Photo: Canadian Border Patrol
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Daniel Rufiange
Either way, the video of the incident is shocking


If you've been following the news in recent days, you have undoubtedly heard about the explosion that occurred at the Niagara Falls border on the American side on November 23.

Not surprisingly, there were fears initially the explosion might have been an act of terrorism. That was quickly ruled when it became clear it resulted from a single-vehicle crash.

There were still a number of questions surrounding the accident, which involved a Bentley. Not least because the car, as seen on security camera footage, was moving at top speed in a very low-speed area by the border crossing.

Accident at the Niagara Falls border
Photo: Canadian Border Patrol

Two hypotheses are being considered. First, that the car may have had a mechanical issue, or second, that the driver fell ill and was possibly incapacitated. In any event, the video shows the Bentley approaching a turn at a tremendous speed, and then catapulting into the air before finally crashing into a wall.

The car subsequently caught fire. Both driver and passenger were killed instantly. A border services employee was slightly injured.

Police have identified the couple as Kurt P. Villani and Monica Villani, both 53 years old. Owners of a business in New York State, the couple had traveled just a short distance from the nearby Seneca Niagara Resort casino when the accident occurred; they were 13 minutes away from their home in Grand Island, north of the falls.

Authorities are still working to reconstruct the couple's movements and the sequence of events to try to determine the true cause of the accident. They say it will take time before the investigation is completed.

Daniel Rufiange
Daniel Rufiange
Automotive expert
  • Over 17 years' experience as an automotive journalist
  • More than 75 test drives in the past year
  • Participation in over 250 new vehicle launches in the presence of the brand's technical specialists