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Guilty plea made in fatal DWI crash

The drunken driver who caused a crash last year that killed one of his passengers and severely injured an off-duty Buffalo police officer could spend up to 25 years behind bars.

Anthony Thompson, 23, of Thornton Avenue, pleaded guilty Friday morning to charges of aggravated vehicular homicide and second-degree manslaughter before State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang.

Thompson also pleaded guilty to second-degree assault and three counts of third-degree assault, said Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III.

These are the highest charges Thompson could have been convicted of had the case gone to trial, the DA's office said.

Thompson faces a maximum prison sentence of 8 1/3 to 25 years in prison, prosecutors said. Wolfgang will sentence him on July 12.

Thompson was driving his sport utility vehicle east on West Ferry at about 2:15 a.m. Feb. 25, 2011, when he ran a red light at Ferry and Main and plowed into a vehicle driven by off-duty police officer Gary D. Sengbusch, 31.

Thompson's blood-alcohol content was at least twice the state's legal limit, and he was traveling 66 mph in a 30 mph zone, prosecutors said.

The crash killed one of Thompson's four passengers, 20-year-old Honey Ransom of Herman, and seriously injured the other three.

Sengbusch, meanwhile, suffered serious physical injuries and continues long-term rehabilitation, the DA's office said Friday.

Sedita praised the efforts of Assistant District Attorneys Thomas Finnerty and Eugene Partridge, who handled the case.

email: jrey@buffnews.com