Niagara Gazette — A Niagara Falls man who admitted to driving the vehicle that struck and killed 26-year-old Nicole Rodriguez and injured her then-7-year-old son before leaving the scene will serve jail time for the crime.
Francis Maikranz, 55, 2238 Whitney Ave., was sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in state prison by Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas Wednesday. He was also ordered to pay more than $3,000 in fines and surcharges.
Her decision left some of Rodriguez's gathered family members visibly upset as they left the courtroom.
"It's just ridiculous," said Dale Rivers, step-father of Rodriguez who lost her life a day after being struck in a crosswalk on Hyde Park Boulevard at Jerauld Avenue at 10 p.m. June 18. Maikranz failed to stop or report the accident, instead driving home and fixing the damaged windshield himself. "I don't care what you say, in an accident like that, you don't just fix the car yourself. There's blood, there's guts."
Rodriguez's son, now-8-year-old Christopher Pelfrey, has since recovered from a lacerated kidney and a concussion suffered when the impact knocked him out of his shoes and sent him flying to the curb, according to relatives.
Farkas previously agreed to a sentence of no more than 2 to 6 years as part of Maikranz taking a plea deal in January, when he pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of a fatality accident without reporting it and leaving the scene of a serious injury accident without reporting it.
Given the opportunity to speak, Maikranz expressed regret over the incident and said he'd forever live with the tragedy's effects.
"At the time, I had no idea what had happened," he told the judge prior to learning his sentence. "I can't express my sorrow. I can't imagine anything more horrible. I don't have the correct words."