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MAN PLEADS GUILTY IN CRASH FATAL TO 15-YEAR-OLD

A Genesee County man pleaded guilty Friday to vehicular manslaughter and other charges in the death of a 15-year-old girl who was a passenger in the stolen car he was driving two months ago when it crashed in the Village of Akron.

Douglas Ground, 18, of the Tonawanda Indian Reservation in Basom, pleaded guilty to second-degree vehicular manslaughter and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle in the Aug. 19 death of Amanda Rose Horsefall, 15, of Basom.

Ms. Horsefall, a sophomore at Akron Central School, was a front-seat passenger in the stolen car that Ground was driving when he failed to make a curve at high speed on Mechanic Street near Jackson Street at about 3:30 a.m. and slammed into a tree, according to prosecutors. She died of severe head injuries within an hour of the crash.

Prosecutors said Ground, who was legally drunk and had a blood-alcohol reading of .15 percent at the time of the crash, was driving a car that had been stolen July 31 from the naval base in Norfolk, Va. Authorities do not know if Ground stole the car.

Ground was on crutches during his appearance Friday before State Supreme Court Justice Ronald H. Tills in Buffalo because both his legs were broken in the crash.

Leonard E. Krawczyk Jr., chief of the Erie County district attorney's DWI Bureau, said Ground pleaded guilty to the highest charge he would have faced if he had been indicted.

Tills ordered Ground to remain jailed pending his Jan. 16 sentencing. He faces a possible seven-year prison term.

Tills told Ground he is "inclined" to cap his prison term at four years.

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