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Buffalo man gets 3 to 9 years for drunken driving fatality

A Buffalo man was sentenced to three to nine years in prison on Friday morning for hitting and killing a friend when he was trying to move a car so the two could listen to music.

Rickey Mellerson, 54, of Girard Place previously pleaded guilty to vehicular manslaughter in the Aug. 23 death of Kimberly M. Thompson, 46, also of Buffalo. The two were spending the summer afternoon together when Mellerson went to move a car so they could use the radio.

Mellerson, who later registered a blood alcohol content of .20 percent, told police the car “took off,” causing him to drive in reverse instead of forward. The car hit Thompson, who was sitting in a chair nearby. Mellerson stopped the car and tried to help Thompson, but her injuries proved fatal.

Prior to his sentencing, Mellerson asked Thompson’s family for forgiveness.

“They miss Kim. I miss Kim. She was a good friend. That day was the most horrible day of my life,” he said.

“This is one of the saddest cases I’ve encountered in some time,” Erie County Court Judge Thomas P. Franczyk said.

He noted that Mellerson and Thompson were friends, and that Mellerson had worked all his life, was active in his community and apparently is well-liked.

“You didn’t run away, as some people do,” the judge said. You have been stand-up about this.”

However, the judge also noted that Mellerson had “gone on a bender” the night before the incident and had “continued to juice” through the next afternoon and still tried to drive.

“It wouldn’t be overstating it to say you have a problem,” the judge said before pronouncing sentence of 3 to 9 years.