Medical Examiner's Office, Erie County Department of Health

Medical Examiner's Office

Front Row - Left to Right

  • Christopher Stokes
  • Dr. Robert Osiewicz
  • William Kaufman
  • Colleen Brzyski
  • Carmen Figueroa
  • Karen Biel Costantino

Second Row - Left to Right

  • Dr. Dianne Vertes
  • Susan Gibson
  • Carraugh Nowak
  • Dr. Jonrika Malone
  • Diane Tarapacki
  • Katie Larnard
  • Colleen Corcoran
  • Michelle Freeman

Back Row - Left to Right

  • Louis Russo
  • Lawrence Perkins
  • James McClure
  • Charles Castiglia
  • Thomas Lamb
  • Dr. Mark LeVaughn

On the evening of February 12th, 2009 a commercial airplane crashed in Clarence Center, New York, killing all 49 crew members and passengers and one person on the ground. The Erie County Medical Examiner's (ME) Office staff arrived at the crash site that night, and worked persistently for the next six days in the recovery effort until all of the human remains were collected from the site. The ME's Office then began the arduous task of identific ation of remains and notification of family members.

The ME's Office, under the administrative direction of Karen Biel Costantino, performed this Herculean task with great compassion, tenacity, and professionalism. They were able to conduct their work cooperatively with the various federal, state and local agencies sent to provide assistance. Throughout the event, the staff demonstrated their unwavering commitment and dedication to their work with the goal of reuniting the victims with their families.

Ms. Costantino was a key player in this response by providing oversight to all aspects of the ME's Office activities, and ensured the success of the response. She quickly attributes the success to the doctors and staff in the Office and shares her feelings of pride for them, their commitment and dedication. The response was a team effort, but Ms. Costantino clearly provided the strong leadership necessary to make it successful.

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