An attorney for Marcell Dareus is continuing to seek a plea deal for the Buffalo Bills defensive lineman in a suspected drag-racing incident last May 30 in the Town of Hamburg.
Michael P. Caffery said he hopes to resolve the case through a guilty plea to a noncriminal charge. If no deal is reached with the Erie County District Attorney’s Office by April 7, he said, the case will proceed to trial May 19 in Hamburg Town Court.
The attorney was in court Thursday with Dareus and Assistant District Attorney Bethany Solek to update Hamburg Town Justice Gerald P. Gorman on the status of the case.
The May 19 trial date was set last month after Caffery and his client rejected a plea to reckless driving, a misdemeanor that carries a jail sentence of up to 30 days for the first offense.
Caffery said Thursday he rejected that plea because he doesn’t want Dareus to have a criminal record. Instead, he is seeking a plea to a vehicle and traffic charge.
Besides reckless driving, Dareus also was charged with reckless endangerment, a Class A misdemeanor, and several violations of the vehicle and traffic law, following what police said was a high-speed street race last May 30 on Milestrip Road with teammate Jerry Hughes.
Dareus lost control of his white 2012 Jaguar, and the car crossed over two lanes of oncoming traffic on Milestrip near McKinley Parkway, according to police.
The Jaguar jumped a curb and crashed into a tree about 10 yards from the entrance of the Mongolian Buffet restaurant.
Dareus, who was uninjured, left the crumpled vehicle and fled, police said. He was arrested within 15 minutes. Hughes, who was not charged, reportedly drove away from the scene.
Reckless endangerment, the most serious charge, carries a maximum penalty of a year in jail.
Dareus, who turns 25 on Friday, also was charged with participating in an unauthorized speed contest, failing to keep right, leaving the scene of an incident without reporting, speeding and an unsafe lane change.
At Thursday’s court session, Caffery filed pretrial discovery motions, seeking information from the prosecution on its case against his client. The prosecution will respond to the motions before trial.
About three weeks before his arrest in Hamburg, Dareus was arrested in Alabama on two felony drug charges but was later accepted into a pretrial intervention program.
Successful completion of the program was expected to lead to the Alabama charges being dropped and his criminal record being expunged.