Rainbow Bridge car explosion was a lumber dealer, not a terrorist

A car swerved out of control, crashed, and exploded at the Rainbow Bridge border crossing last week, quickly becoming an international incident. The bridge spans the Niagara River between New York state and Ontario at Niagara Falls.

Because it’s one of the most travelled routes between the two countries, concerns quickly arose that the explosion was terrorist related. Coverage of the incident filled TV news stations on both sides of the border. However, in the end, the circumstances, while no less tragic, did not have international security implications.

It turns out the car, a Bentley Flying Spur, was owned by Kurt Villani, who was accompanied by his wife Monica. They lived in Grand Island, on the Niagara River between Buffalo and Niagara Falls, N.Y. Villani and his wife were not terrorists but the owners of Gui’s Lumber, a dealer with seven Ace Hardware stores in western New York.

Headed for Canada, the Villanis’ car raced out of control on the American side of the border crossing, hit a median, then crashed into a row of security booths on the U.S. side and exploded. While the investigation continues into this incident, certain versions of the Bentley Flying Spur have been the subject of recalls, due to their gas pedals getting stuck.