Niagara Gazette

Courts

February 20, 2014

Plea offer weighed in fatal Tuscarora Indian Reservation crash

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — A South Dakota teenager, facing a 19-count indictment in connection with a fatal accident on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation, now has a new lawyer and a plea offer from prosecutors to consider.

Skyler Zephier, 19, appeared in Niagara County Court on Wednesday, with veteran defense attorney Dominic Saracino, who replaced his former public defender.

Zephier is charged with criminally negligent homicide, second-degree manslaughter, two counts of second-degree vehicular manslaughter, two counts of aggravated vehicular manslaughter, two counts of second-degree vehicular assault, second-degree assault, two counts of driving while intoxicated, two counts of driving while under the influence of drugs, leaving the scene of a fatal accident, leaving the scene of a serious injury accident and numerous vehicle and traffic law violations including reckless driving and imprudent speed, in connection with the Sept. 8 crash on Susie’s Lane on the reservation.

He has pleaded not guilty to the charges and is being held in lieu of bail of $100,000.

Assistant District Attorney Theodore Brenner told Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas that Zephier has been offered a deal that would require him to plead guilty to one count of driving while intoxicated, one count of second-degree manslaughter and one count of second-degree vehicular assault. In return for that plea, Farkas said she had agreed to cap Zephier’s possible prison term at between three to nine years.

Saracino asked the judge for “some time” to consider the offer.

Prosecutors say Zephier was at the wheel of a Ford Explorer that was traveling south on Susie’s Lane, when it failed to yield to a car at the intersection of Upper Mountain Road. As the SUV went into the intersection, it struck the car, driving it into a field.

The force of the crash flipped the SUV and left a passenger, Brett McKee, 18, of Lewiston, pinned underneath it. Prosecutors said McKee, a resident of the Tuscarora Reservation, was asphyxiated after being caught in his seat belt.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Courts
Featured Ads
House Ads
AP Video
Tributes Mark Boston Bombing Anniversary Raw: Kan. Shooting Suspect Faces Judge US Supports Ukraine's Efforts to Calm Tensions Suspect in Kansas Shootings Faces Murder Charges Ukraine: Military Recaptures Eastern Airport Raw: Storm Topples RVs Near Miss. Gulf Coast NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse Pistorius Cries During Final Cross-Examination The Boston Marathon Bombing: One Year Later Michael Phelps Set to Come Out of Retirement First Women Move to Army Platoon Artillery Jobs Sex Offenders Charged in Serial Killings Police: Woman Stored Dead Babies in Garage OC Serial Murder Suspects May Have More Victims Family: 2 Shot in Head at Kan. Jewish Center Raw: Horse Jumping Inspires 'Bunny Hop' After Attack, Officials Kill 5 Bears in Florida Popular Science Honors Year's Top Inventions ND Oil Boom Attracting Drug Traffickers
Opinion
House Ads
Night & Day
Twitter News
Follow us on twitter
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Front page