Chautauqua County man pleads guilty in fatal Wyoming County crash
Orangeville, N.Y./Warsaw, N.Y. – A Chautauqua County man has pleaded guilty to charges in connection with a fatal crash in Wyoming County.
On July 9, prosecutors say Joshua Huntress, 29, of Mayville ingested controlled substances and then drove from a Warsaw motel on Route 20A in an effort to head back to Chautauqua County.
A concerned citizen reportedly called to report Huntress’ vehicle was all over the road. During that same phone call, prosecutors say Huntress’ vehicle went on the eastbound lane, crashing into two motorcycles, each carrying two people.
Tomasa Martinez, who was traveling on one of the motorcycles, died from injuries sustained in the crash. Three others, George McGann, David Stefanski and Minerva Stefanski, were injured and are said to still be recovering.
Huntress waived indictment and pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide on the condition he would be sentenced to an indeterminate term of five to 15 years or seven- and-a-half to 15 years in state prison. Huntress has a prior felony conviction in Pennsylvania; a judge will need to determine whether that conviction will lead to Huntress being treated as a second felony offender. This would raise his sentence to seven-and-a-half to 15 years. Part of the plea stipulated that Huntress admit he drove recklessly while impaired by drugs and caused Martinez’s death and injuries to McGann and the Stefanskis.
The defendant also pleaded guilty to three charges of assault in the second degree on the condition he is sentenced to a determinate sentence of five years in prison and three or five years of post-release supervision. Prosecutors say all the sentences must run concurrently.
In a statement released Thursday, Wyoming County District Attorney Donald O’Geen said the following:
On July 9, 2017 the victims and their families were forever destroyed due to a person who should have never been in Wyoming County, never been in New York and should have never chosen to ingest controlled substances and then get behind the wheel of a car. I want to thank the numerous members of law enforcement, members of the volunteer fire departments, medics, Mercy Flight and the WCCH/ECMC staffs for saving 3 lives that day. I also want to thank all of those that cooperated with law enforcement’s investigation of this incident. The New York State Police led this investigation as they were first to respond within minutes of the accident and the 911 call and they were able to provide a tremendous amount of resources including investigators, a forensic unit and a crash management unit. They were also assisted by members of the Wyoming County Sheriff’s Department especially with the help from one of their Drug Recognition Experts (DREs). I am proud to be part of the great teamwork that exists between all of our public safety partners in Wyoming County.
Huntress is scheduled to be sentenced in January.