Maserati driver sentenced to 3-9 years for fatal South Buffalo crash that caused social media rumors
The drunk driver of a Maserati who killed two people in South Buffalo received his sentence Tuesday, concluding a case that spurred widespread social media speculation and false accusations of a cover-up.
Antonio Brown, 36, of Buffalo, was sentenced in Erie County Court to a state prison term of 3-9 years. Brown pleaded guilty in July to aggravated vehicular homicide, a class B felony, as well as first-degree vehicular manslaughter and second-degree manslaughter, both class C felonies.
Brown was speeding from a West Seneca nightclub in his 2008 Maserati and over twice the legal drinking limit when he hit a Toyota Yaris on Seneca Street during the early morning hours of Oct. 27, 2019. Crash data showed Brown did not apply the brakes before impact.
The impact killed the driver, Anthony Twentyfive, 33, and his passenger, the wife of his cousin, Kristin LaBruno, 32.
Brown, speaking before the court prior to his sentencing Tuesday, was remorseful.
“I can't take the pain from you,” he told the victims’ families, “but I can tell you I will never forget what happened.”
However, Erie County Judge Caroline Wojtaszek told Brown it was difficult to reconcile his remorse during sentencing with his actions over the last nearly two years he has been awaiting indictment and then out on bail.
Brown, according to Wojtasezk, was more concerned with his Maserati than the victims at the crash scene, and acted cavalier during previous court appearances.
“I’m not sure who you are, Mr. Brown,” Wojtaszek said.
The victims’ families, during emotional victim impact statements, also accused Brown of not being remorseful.
Twentyfive’s mother, Sandra Twentyfive, said Brown has continued to lead an active social life since the crash.
“If that was me and I killed two people. I wouldn't be able to get myself out of bed in the morning, let alone travel and throw myself a huge birthday bash at a nightclub,” she said. “Why do you think your birthday is better than my son’s?”
Brown wasn’t indicted until August 2020, almost an entire year after the crash. The delays in his case, as well as the nature of his sports car, led many social media users to accuse authorities of covering up for a potentially wealthy and well-connected defendant. Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown even had to state publicly that he was not related to Brown and did not know him.
Brown worked at Rosa’s and sold cars for six years prior to the crash, according to court records.
Erie County District Attorney John Flynn, speaking after sentencing Tuesday, said the delays were due to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the complex nature of the crash.
“The accident scene was chaotic. It was dark, it was rainy out, the lighting was poor. There were conditions here that lead to some questions, I'll concede, as to exactly how this happened,” he said.
One of those questions includes what Twentyfive’s vehicle was doing when Brown crashed into it. Brown’s attorney, Dan DuBois, told reporters after sentencing that Twentyfive may have been making a u-turn and pulled out in front of Brown.
DuBois accused the media of repeatedly misreporting that the victims’ car was parked when Brown crashed into it. A Google search of local news stories about the case did not immediately show any references to a parked car.
“It has been reported time and time again that this car was just parked on the side of the road and Mr. Brown came barreling in and slammed into a car. That did not happen,” DuBois said. “This was essentially a t-boned accident.”
Flynn conceded the car was not parked, but added “no one knows” whether the victims were trying to make a u-turn.
One question that does bother Flynn is why LaBruno, the passenger, was thrown so far from the vehicle. Flynn said no windshield or side window was broken, so LaBruno’s door must have been opened when the crash occurred.
“There's some things that have gone unanswered obviously,” he said. “None of them have anything to do with, quite frankly, (Brown’s) actions and his guilt.”
LaBruno was a mother of two who worked at a daycare, while Twentyfive was a control room operator at the Buffalo Niagara International Airport.
“If this situation were reversed, my son and niece would have been the first to help a total stranger and do anything they could to help, because that's the kind of people they were. They were raised to be kind and caring and I'm proud of that,” Sandra Twentyfive told Brown. “My son is everything you are not.”
In addition to this prison term, Brown’s license has been revoked and he will have to pay a $5,000 fine. A civil suit was also recently filed against him by LaBruno’s family.