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Niagara Falls youth who dropped trash can on tourist pleads guilty

A Niagara Falls teen who dropped a garbage can on a tourist from an upper floor of a city parking ramp pleaded guilty to a felony Wednesday.

Niagara County District Attorney Caroline A. Wojtaszek confirmed that Zachary T. Messing, 18, admitted to the original charge of first-degree reckless endangerment, which carries a maximum seven-year prison sentence, and is to be sentenced July 11 by Niagara Falls City Judge Mark A. Violante.

Wojtaszek confirmed the plea was entered in a closed courtroom because Messing is eligible for youthful offender status.

"It was important that the defendant plead to the charge and take full responsibility for his outrageous conduct," Wojtaszek said. "Our community wants to send a message that we do not tolerate criminal behavior toward our tourists."

The victim, a 50-year-old Lorain, Ohio, woman, was knocked unconscious and suffered a broken collarbone when she was struck about 10:30 p.m. Aug. 9 while she was walking past the Rainbow Boulevard parking ramp. The 3 1/2-foot-high plastic trash receptacle contained only papers, police said at the time.

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