A Buffalo man with a revoked driver’s license pleaded guilty Monday in two drunken driving cases – first for going 94 mph last year on the Kensington Expressway and then this year for crashing into an East Side house and critically injuring his passenger.
Anthony L. Watson Jr., 36, of Lafayette Avenue, pleaded guilty to first-degree vehicular assault and first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle in connection with the April 12 crash at Newburgh and East Delavan avenues after a police chase.
He admitted that he was driving with a blood-alcohol content of 0.19 percent, more than twice the legal limit of 0.08 percent, when he crashed his pickup truck into the house.
He and his passenger, Walter “Billy” Jackson, were both injured in the horrific crash.
Jackson, 45, suffered massive head injuries and bleeding on the brain and was initially listed in critical condition in the trauma intensive care unit at Erie County Medical Center. He has been moved out of that unit and is listed in fair condition.
Watson was initially held in the jail ward at ECMC for about 10 days before he was transferred to the Erie County Holding Center where he is being held without bail.
The crash occurred after police noticed Watson driving erratically and pulled him over on Genesee Street at Newburgh. When the officers got out of their patrol car, he sped off and struck the house a short time later, police said.
Watson and Jackson, his brother-in-law, were returning from the Seneca Niagara Casino in Niagara Falls when the crash occurred, according to Jackson’s family.
In pleading guilty Monday in Erie County Court, Watson also admitted that his driver’s license had been revoked following his Nov. 29, 2007 DWI conviction in Amherst Town Court. Authorities said his license had 24 suspensions on it.
Buffalo police had been seeking to arrest Watson for nearly a year on an indictment warrant issued in May 2013 after he was arrested Jan. 1, 2013 for speeding and driving drunk with a revoked license on the Kensington.
He had posted bail in City Court but failed to show up for arraignment four months later after he was indicted in the Kensington case.
Police finally found him behind the wheel of his damaged truck April 12 and discovered that he was wanted on the warrant.
Watson also pleaded guilty Monday in the Kensington case to felony DWI and first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
Assistant District Attorney Christopher M. McCarthy said Watson faces up to four years in prison on the felony DWI and aggravated unlicensed operation charges and up to seven years on the vehicular assault charge when he is sentenced Sept. 2 by Judge Michael F. Pietruszka.