Updated: Wednesday, 28 Jul 2010, 6:40 PM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 28 Jul 2010, 5:23 PM EDT
NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) - Politics have entered into a North Tonawanda DWI case. A county lawmaker calls a plea deal for the daughter of a city councilwoman a "black eye on Niagara County."
County Legislator Dennis Virtuoso is calling for an investigation into a questionable DWI plea bargain involving some of Niagara County's political heavyweights. Two weeks ago, Sara Donovan, daughter of North Tonawanda Alderwoman-at-Large Nancy Donovan, struck two vehicles along Payne Avenue.
A police report indicates Sara Donovan blew a .13 on the breathalyzer, well above the legal limit of .08. But Donovan was allowed to plea down to a speeding and a parking ticket.
Virtuoso said, "This is a black eye for Niagara County. For years we have passed numerous resolutions asking for tougher DWI laws. My nephew was actually killed by a drunk driver. So I have no tolerance for this."
Niagara County District Attorney Michael Violante approved the plea bargain, and North Tonawanda City Judge William Lewis also signed off. We made several attempts to reach Judge Lewis over the phone and coming to North Tonawanda Court to find out why the Judge approved this unusual plea deal, but we were not able to reach him."
Judge Lewis has been quoted as saying he agreed to the lesser charges to save Sara Donovan's job as a CPA, but Donovan is not a certified public accountant. District Attorney Violante released a written statement saying in part that he will not make a practice to justify his decisions to the press in regards to plea bargain offers.
"If I don't get a response, I am going to ask for a board of inquiry, which is an investigative unit of our Niagara County Legislature, to look into this, or ask the Attorney General to look into this," said Virtuoso.
Sara Donovan's attorney Henry Wojtaszek didn't return our call. He is Niagara County's former Republican Chairman. After Dennis Virtuoso went on the record, the chairman of Niagara County's Legislature said he would ask the District Attorney to explain the plea deal.