Niagara Gazette

Local News

May 14, 2014

Teen faces 3 to 9 years in prison for fatal accident on Tuscarora Reservation

Niagara Gazette — LOCKPORT — A South Dakota teenager will spend the next three to nine years in a New York State prison for his role in a fatal accident on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation.

Niagara County Court Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas sentenced Skyler Zephier, 19, to 3 to 9 years in prison for his guilty plea to a charge of second-degree manslaughter, 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison for his guilty plea to a charge of second-degree vehicular assault and one year in Niagara County jail for his plea to a single count of driving while intoxicated.

The sentences will all run concurrently and will be served in state prison.  

Zephier had faced a 19-count indictment, including charges of 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, before accepting a plea deal from prosecutors in March.

Prosecutors charged that Zephier was at the wheel of a Ford Explorer that was traveling south on Susie’s Lane on the reservation on Sept. 8, 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.

Witnesses told police they saw a man “in a gray shirt, standing in the roadway, covered in blood.” The witnesses also said the man “got into a car and left the scene.”

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
Featured Ads
Seasonal Content
House Ads
AP Video
Arizona Prison Chief: Execution Wasn't Botched Calif. Police Investigate Peacock Shooting Death Raw: Protesters, Soldiers Clash in West Bank Police: Doctor Who Shot Gunman 'Saved Lives' 'Modern Family' Star on Gay Athletes Coming Out MN Twins Debut Beer Vending Machine DA: Pa. Doctor Fired Back at Hospital Gunman Raw: Iowa Police Dash Cam Shows Wild Chase Obama Seeks Limits on US Company Mergers Abroad Large Family to Share NJ Lottery Winnings U.S. Flights to Israel Resume After Ban Lifted Official: Air Algerie Flight 'probably Crashed' TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans Raw: National Guard Helps Battle WA Wildfires Raw: Ukraine's Donetsk Residents Flee Senators Push to End Hamas Threat in Cease-Fire A Young Victim's Premonition, Hug Before MH17 Raw: Deadly Storm Hits Virginia Campground Death Penalty Expert: 'This is a Turning Point' Raw: MH17 Victim's Bodies Arrive in Netherlands
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
Poll

Do you think cigarette sales to non-Native American customers should be taxed on reservations?

Yes. Items should be taxed like they are everywhere else.
No, the indian reservations are sovereign land and they are selling them on their land.
Not up to me. Native Americans decide the rules on their land.
Don't care. Smoking isn't good for you.
     View Results