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DRIVER ADMITS FAULT IN FATAL CRASH

A Vermont Street man pleaded guilty Tuesday to criminally negligent homicide and other charges in connection with a 100 mph crash on the Grand Island Boulevard ramp of the Youngmann Highway that killed his 16-year-old passenger two months ago.

Omar S. Sortino, 21, was allowed to remain free on bail after he pleaded guilty before State Supreme Court Justice Mario J. Rossetti in the death of Amy L. Picculla of Hawley Street.

Rossetti on Feb. 6 can either place Sortino on probation or order him to serve a prison term of up to four years. Tuesday the judge didn't indicate his intentions.

Sortino, who was not Ms. Piculla's boyfriend, according to court officials, declined comment as he left court.

Prosecutor Leonard E. Krawczyk Jr. said Sortino, whose blood-alcohol reading was .09, pleaded guilty to the highest charges that would have been lodged against him by a grand jury.

Because his blood-alcohol reading was less than the state's legal limit of .10, he could not be charged with the drunken-driving-related charge of vehicular manslaughter, the prosecutor said.

Sortino was charged with driving while impaired, the highest drinking-related charge that could be lodged against him, the prosecutor said.

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