Updated: Thursday, 29 Jul 2010, 7:55 AM EDT
Published : Wednesday, 28 Jul 2010, 10:19 PM EDT
NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) - Did the daughter of a North Tonawanda councilwoman get a plea deal for DWI because of political connections?
A car was in the driveway, but no one answered the door at the home of North Tonawanda Alderwoman Nancy Donovan. Police reports show that two weeks ago her daughter, 23-year-old Sara Donovan, was charged with DWI and speeding. Recently, she was allowed to plead that charge down to a lesser speeding offense and a parking ticket, despite the fact her car hit two parked cars on Payne Avenue in North Tonawanda.
Attorney Steve Boyd said, "I think it's a joke. There's no question in my mind that, that plea goes beyond the beyond. Nobody else could get that plea."
Boyd sues drunk drivers on behalf of victims.
"The law says when someone's driving while intoxicated, in section 1192, the best plea they can get is driving while impaired, unless the prosecutor goes into open court and says we can't rely on the evidence," explained Boyd.
The evidence, per this police report, shows officers observed an odor of alcoholic beverage, glassy eyes and impaired speech the night officers charged Donovan with DWI.
Niagara County Legislator Dennis Virtuoso said, "This has never happened in Niagara County. My feeling is there may have been political influence involved here."
Virtuoso notes the three people involved: the District Attorney, Alderwoman Donovan and the City Judge who agreed to the plea deal are all Republicans. And Sara Donovan's attorney is Henry Wojtaszek, a former Republican County Chairman.
"For this to happen in Niagara County is a slap in the face to every citizen in Niagara County," said Virtuoso.
The Niagara County D.A., Michael Violante, issued a statement saying in part that he will not justify his decision to the press in regard to plea bargain offers, but lawmakers say they deserve an explanation.
Virtuoso said, "Something smells in this whole case. That's why it should be investigated."
We tried reaching the City Judge and Sara Donovan's attorney. We are still waiting to hear from them.