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Buffalo driver pleads guilty for crash that hurt officers, passenger and hit church

A Buffalo man pleaded guilty Monday to first-degree assault for a high-speed crash in December 2018 that injured a passenger and two police officers, according to the Erie County District Attorney's Office.

Andre Goldsmith, 30, pleaded guilty before State Supreme Court Justice Paul B. Wojtaszek to one count of first-degree assault, which was the highest count in the indictment against him, on the day his jury trial was set to begin. He was originally charged with assault, reckless endangerment and unlawfully fleeing a police officer, as well as multiple vehicle and traffic violations, after the Dec. 23, 2018 incident.

Goldsmith was pulled over by Buffalo police officers at East Ferry Street and Wohlers Avenue at around 10:15 p.m. for driving a vehicle with dark, tinted windows and no license plate lights, prosecutors said. When officers approached the stopped vehicle, Goldsmith drove away at a high rate of speed, with officers following on East Ferry.

Officers with the Buffalo Police Housing Unit patrol were parked in a vehicle on East Ferry near Grider Street when they heard the call for the speeding driver, prosecutors said. An officer turned on the overhead lights and attempted to make a three-point turn, when his patrol vehicle was rear-ended by the defendant’s vehicle. The crash caused the patrol vehicle to spin around and forced it down the street, prosecutors said. Goldsmith's vehicle hit a fire hydrant and a light pole, then became wedged between another light pole and the side entryway to True Bethel Baptist Church, on East Ferry.

Both the defendant and his passenger were extricated from the vehicle by emergency personnel and taken to Erie County Medical Center. The passenger suffered fractures to both ankles, which required surgery. Goldsmith did not suffer any serious injuries.

Both police officers were also taken to ECMC. One officer suffered injuries to his neck and shoulder and could not work for several months. The other officer suffered injuries to his neck and back, which prevented him from returning to work.

Goldsmith faces a maximum of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced at 9:30 a.m. March 9. He remains held without bail.

 

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