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Driver admits guilt in crash fatal to friend

A Montclair Avenue man pleaded guilty Thursday to a drunken driving-related vehicular manslaughter charge for the death of his friend in an early-morning crash into a Goodyear Avenue house.

Keith A. Crockett, 23, told a judge he had been out celebrating Father's Day at a Fillmore Avenue house where he had been drinking vodka before the fatal incident about 12:25 a.m. last June 16.

Crockett also pleaded guilty to a probation violation charge linked to his drug arrest in Jamestown three years ago. He was allowed to remain free on the $75,000 bail posted by his family, but State Supreme Court Justice Russell P. Buscaglia warned him he faces a prison term of 2 1/2 to five years when he is sentenced Jan. 5.

Prosecutor Bethany A. Solek said Crockett's passenger, Warren A. Jones, 21, of Swinburne Street, was killed instantly when Crockett barreled into the side of a two-family house at 107 Goodyear just north of Broadway.

The first-floor flat was vacant, and no one living in the second-floor flat was injured, though they had to be provided temporary shelter elsewhere, the prosecutor said.

Solek said Crockett, who faced a mandatory state prison term as a repeat felony offender, had a blood alcohol level of 0.10 percent four hours after the fatal crash, based on a court-ordered blood test which also showed he had been smoking marijuana.

Buscaglia told Crockett he will be given a one-year term on the drug-related probation violation charge, but he said that will not add to the time he faces in state prison on the vehicular manslaughter charge.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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