Tonawanda News

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November 16, 2012

Motorcyclist faces more charges in fatal accident case

AMHERST — The motorcyclist who veered off the road Sunday afternoon and fatally injured two pedestrians appeared in town court Thursday.

David A. Smith, 53, was allegedly intoxicated when the incident occurred. Thursday, he waived his right to a preliminary hearing in Amherst Town Court before Judge Mark Farrell. The case will now go directly to an Erie County grand jury. 

The Niagara Falls man was arraigned on two counts of criminally negligent homicide and DWI Monday afternoon at Erie County Medical Center. He has since been released from the hospital and is being held without bail. 

He was also charged with several vehicle and traffic violations, including a helmet violation, moving from a lane unsafely and speeding.

Defense attorney Joel Daniels will be representing Smith in the case.

Daniels also represented Dr. James Corasanti earlier this year. But despite his success in obtaining an acquittal for Corasanti, he wouldn't comment on the strategy behind the current case — including details like whether Smith will take a plea or go to trial. 

"We don't know what direction this case is going to go in," Daniels said. "It is too early." 

Daniels also offered his condolences to the victims' families. 

"This was a terrible, terrible tragedy and our hearts go out to the Elbersons and the Peltons," Daniels said. 

Daniels also said Smith feels terrible about the accident. 

Assistant District Attorney Kelley Omel, who was also on the Corasanti case and heads the district's Vehicular Crimes Bureau, will be prosecuting Smith. 

Thursday, Omel told Farrell about Smith's three previous DWI convictions.

"There were two misdemeanors and one felony DWI," Omel said. "To my knowledge, the most recent one occurred in 2000 in New York."

According to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles, Smith's current record before Sunday's incident was clear, as DWI charges are removed after 10 years.

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