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Man jailed after indictment on driving charge

A Wyoming County man who served a brief jail term last year for killing a pedestrian in a drunken driving incident three years ago, was jailed Wednesday after being indicted on a charge of driving while ability impaired.

Michael J. O'Connor, 25, of Telegraph Road, Bliss, was taken into custody in lieu of $5,000 bail after appearing before State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang.

O'Connor was involved in a two-car crash on Genesee Street near Ransom Road in Lancaster about 7:20 p.m. April 14.

Though O'Connor came to court with his mother and father, prosecutor Bethany A. Solek pressed to have him jailed in lieu of $5,000 bail, citing what she called "the strength of the people's case."

An Erie County grand jury indicted O'Connor on one count of felony driving while ability impaired and a traffic charge of following too close.

Neither Solek nor Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III would discuss the alleged drugs O'Connor had taken before he allegedly rear-ended another vehicle that had stopped for a red light at Genesee and Ransom.

O'Connor served about eight months in custody at the Erie County Correctional Facility last year for fatally striking Thomas Hajduk as the 51-year-old industrial engineer and musician was walking near his own Aurora Street home in Lancaster on Nov. 2, 2008.

O'Connor had apparently just dropped off some friends in Lancaster after a Bills home game when he hit Hajduk with his Jeep SUV.

If convicted of the drug-related driving crime, he faces a prison term of up to four years.

O'Connor also was convicted of a drunken driving-related incident in Wyoming County five years ago. According to court records, in the summer of 2006 O'Connor was fined $200 by a Sheldon town judge in Wyoming County on his guilty plea to a reduced charge of driving while impaired by alcohol.

email: mgryta@buffnews.com