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Driver, 24, begins term for hit-run death Buffalo State student was killed in 2007

A tearful Angola roofer Monday began a prison term of up to seven years for the hit-and-run death of a Buffalo State College student 14 months ago.

Mark E. Gajkowski II, 24, was taken into custody after Erie County Judge Michael F. Pietruszka imposed the maximum-allowable prison term of 2 1/3 to seven years on his guilty plea in the death of Katherine W. Razzolini.

Free on bail until Monday, Gajkowski, of Madison Avenue, pleaded guilty July 11 to leaving the scene of an accident without reporting it.

The 22-year-old East Aurora woman was walking with friends on Lake Shore Road near Central Avenue in the Town of Evans when struck by Gajkowski's pickup truck about 3 a.m. Sept. 30, 2007.

Gajkowski drove off, but Evans police traced him through the passenger-side mirror left at the scene after it was knocked off his vehicle by the force of the impact.

Ronald Razzolini, the victim's father, rebuked Gajkowski for driving off and leaving his daughter to "die on the side of the road."

He urged the judge to impose the maximum sentence to punish Gajkowski for what he called the driver's "true lack of character."

Gajkowski, periodically halting as he wept, told the judge "words cannot describe" his remorse for his actions that "horrible night."

Michael P. Caffery, Gajkowski's attorney, told the judge he has prevented Gajkowski from contacting the victim's kin because of the civil suit pending over the fatal incident.

After the sentencing, Ronald Razzolini praised both the judge and the Erie County district attorney's office for the prosecution and sentencing. Lynnette M. Reda, chief of the district attorney's Vehicular Crimes Bureau, said Gajkowski had been forced to plead gulity to the highest count a grand jury could have lodged against him.

e-mail: mgryta@buffnews.com

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