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White pleads guilty in DWI death

A West Seneca man faces up to seven years in state prison after admitting to striking and killing a South Buffalo man while driving drunk last month, Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita III reported Friday.

James J. White, 53, of Tampa Drive, pleaded guilty as charged before State Supreme Court Judge John L. Michalski to vehicular manslaughter and driving while intoxicated in the Nov. 4 incident on South Park and Choate avenues, where he struck Daniel L. Steiner, 51.

Steiner, who lived only about 10 houses from where he was struck, had been at a nearby South Buffalo tavern and was walking home about 10:30 p.m. when he was hit by White's northbound vehicle while crossing the intersection.

Steiner died the next morning at Erie County Medical Center.

White is scheduled to be sentenced at 2 p.m. March 20. He faces 2 1/3 to seven years in prison.

In a strange twist of events, Steiner found himself the victim of drunken driving, an offense he was jailed for twice in the 1990s.

Steiner spent more than two years in jail in the 1991 case and earned a one-year sentence in the Niagara County Jail for the 1997 case, according to records and Buffalo News reports.

Friends of Steiner acknowledged to The Buffalo News after his death that he had some troubles in his life, but they said Steiner was severely affected by post-traumatic stress disorder from his earlier military career.

They described Steiner as quiet and reclusive. He often found refuge at the tavern he left just before his death, they said.

News Staff Reporter Gene Warner contributed to this report.