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CLERK GAINS DISMISSAL IN SALE OF BEER RECORD MUST REMAIN CLEAN FOR SIX MONTHS

The store clerk who sold beer to an underage Cheektowaga youth hours before he and three other teen-agers were killed in a car-truck crash in February was granted a delayed dismissal of misdemeanor beer-sale charges today.

At the recommendation of the Erie County district attorney's office, Cheektowaga Town Justice Dennis J. Ciotuszynski granted Joseph A. Leszczynski, 19, of Zoerb Avenue an adjournment in contemplation of dismissal on two counts of unlawfully dealing with a child.

The charges will be dropped in six months as long as Leszczynski stays out of trouble, the judge said. If he had been convicted, Leszczynski faced a 90-day jail term and a $500 fine.

Leszczynski, the only person charged in connection with the Feb. 2 crash, was working at the Cumberland Farms store at 3823 Union Road when William Daley, 17, came in twice to buy beer with another person's identification card hours before the 9:30 p.m. crash.

Daley; Brigette Gaskin, 14; Kelly Timmons, and the driver of the car, Mark Drzal, 18, were killed when their car collided with a truck on Genesee Street and Beach Road. Drzal had a blood-alcohol level of 0.14 percent. The state's driving-while-intoxicated limit is 0.10 percent, and the legal drinking age is 21.

District Attorney Kevin Dillon said that he approved the dismissal because Leszczynski had only been working as a clerk for a short time before the incident and had been left alone in the store by his superiors.

Dillon also criticized state laws that allow people to sell alcoholic beverages when they are too young to drink.

"If they don't have the judgment necessary to buy beer, do they have the judgment necessary to make the appropriate decisions about selling it?" Dillon said.

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