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AROUND THE STATE

Texting while driving brings rash of tickets

ALBANY (AP) -- Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said Wednesday that police officers wrote more than twice the number of texting-while-driving tickets in August than they had in previous months, after the state made the practice a primary offense.

Last month was the first full month that officers could stop a driver solely for using a hand-

held electronic device. In August, 1,082 drivers were ticketed statewide. An average of 427 texting-while-driving tickets were given out each month from January to June.

Lawmakers said the big increase demonstrates how badly the law was needed.

Besides making texting behind the wheel a primary offense, the law that took effect in July also increased the penalty for using a cellphone without a hands-free device from two points to three.

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Man gets 7-21 years for fatal DWI crash

UTICA (AP) -- A Virginia man who was driving drunk during an Easter Sunday crash in Utica that killed a 50-year-old man was sentenced to prison Wednesday for 7 to 21 years.

William Daniels of Hopewell, Va., had previously pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault and aggravated driving while intoxicated in the April 24 crash.

Police said that Daniels, 46, drove through a stop sign and that his van collided with a car driven by Nurko Bakaran of Utica, who later died at a local hospital. His wife, Dula, 47, was seriously injured.

The Observer-Dispatch of Utica reported that Daniels said he felt shame and guilt as he was sentenced. Police said Daniels had been in the Utica area for work.

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