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Motorcyclist pleads guilty to pedestrian deaths

A man from Niagara Falls has pleaded guilty to multiple charges related to the deaths of two pedestrians he stuck and killed while riding his motorcycle in Amherst last November. David Smith, 53, admitted to driving drunk when he hit 81-year-old Sheila Pelton and 25-year-old Jocelyn Elberson.  The two women were walking along a bike path near Tonawanda Creek road when Smith lost control of his motorcycle.  They were taken to a nearby hospital, where they died.  Pelton's husband, Foster, suffered serious injuries. 

Smith pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter, assault, and driving while intoxicated.  He faces a minimum of 1 to 3 years in prison and a maximum of 5 to 15 years when he's sentenced in March.  

Erie County District Attorney Frank Sedita tells WBFO News this was not a plea deal.

"In fact, Smith pled guilty to tougher charges," Sedita said.  "He was initially charged with criminally negligent homicide, but he pled guilty to a charge of vehicular manslaughter, which is a much more serious offense."

Despite the high profile nature of this and other DWI cases in the past year, Sedita says some just aren't getting the message not to drink and drive.

"By far, the most indictments I'm signing are for felony DWI charges," Sedita said.  "It's just one outrageous case after another -- people off the road and people running things over.  It never seems to stop."

While the defendant in the Bike Path incident faces a prison sentence, Sedita admits that in most DWI cases that don't involve fatalities a jail sentence is rare. 


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