Fatal accident draws prison term

·1 min read

Sep. 15—LOCKPORT — A Falls man, who plead guilty to leaving the scene of a fatal accident, has been sentenced to a prison term of 2 to 6 years.

The sentence was handed down by State Supreme Court Justice Richard C. Kloch Sr. over the strenuous objections of the defense attorney in the case.

Kloch imposed the sentence on Michael Blackburn, 24, for his plea to a single count of leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle crash, a class "D" felony. But defense attorney Robert Viola said he believed Kloch had agreed to a non-prison term sentence.

"That's not what was represented to me," Viola told Kloch.

But Kloch said he had made "no sentencing commitment" and advised Viola that he could appeal the sentence.

Viola called the judge's position, "disingenuous."

Prosecutors charged that Blackburn was behind the wheel of an SUV that slammed into an ATV being ridden by Evonne "Von" Printup-Rice on May 7, 2020. The crash took place on Garlow Road in the Town of Lewiston.

Printup-Rice was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident and investigators said Blackburn fled from the crash site on foot, after taking the license plates off his vehicle and leaving the SUV behind.

He was located, hours later at his home in the Falls by members of the Town of Lewiston Police Department and Niagara County Sheriff's deputies who were investigating the crash.

Viola said Blackburn suffers from mental health issues. In an apology to the family and friends of the victim, Blackburn he wasn't in the right frame of mind at the time of the crash and should have "done things differently."

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