• Published

An East Aurora man accused of seriously injuring another driver in a wrong-way crash on the Skyway while he was driving drunk pleaded guilty Wednesday in Erie County Court to first-degree vehicular assault.

Matthew Graham, 28, admitted that he had a blood-alcohol level of .21 percent, more than twice the legal limit of .08 percent, as he drove south in the northbound lane and crashed into an oncoming car at 4:14 a.m. April 19, according to District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III.

The collision seriously injured the other driver, Gillian Eckert, 37, of Kenmore, who suffered a broken leg, underwent two surgeries and was unable to report to work for three months, prosecutors said. Graham was initially charged with second-degree vehicular assault, misdemeanor driving while intoxicated and driving in the wrong lane.

But the vehicular assault charge was elevated from second- to first-degree after the blood test indicated that his blood-alcohol content was more than .18 percent, prosecutors said.

Graham faces up to seven years in prison when sentenced Oct. 15 by Judge Thomas P. Franczyk.

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