NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) - Politics have entered into a North Tonawanda DWI case. A countylawmaker calls a plea deal for the daughter of a city councilwomana "black eye on Niagara County."
County Legislator Dennis Virtuoso is calling for aninvestigation into a questionable DWI plea bargain involving someof Niagara County's political heavyweights. Two weeks ago, SaraDonovan, daughter of North Tonawanda Alderwoman-at-Large NancyDonovan, struck two vehicles along Payne Avenue.
A police report indicates Sara Donovan blew a .13 on thebreathalyzer, well above the legal limit of .08. But Donovan wasallowed to plea down to a speeding and a parking ticket.
Virtuoso said, "This is a black eye for Niagara County. Foryears we have passed numerous resolutions asking for tougher DWIlaws. My nephew was actually killed by a drunk driver. So I have notolerance for this."
Niagara County District Attorney Michael Violante approved theplea bargain, and North Tonawanda City Judge William Lewis alsosigned off. We made several attempts to reach Judge Lewis over thephone and coming to North Tonawanda Court to find out why the Judgeapproved this unusual plea deal, but we were not able to reachhim."
Judge Lewis has been quoted as saying he agreed to the lessercharges to save Sara Donovan's job as a CPA, but Donovan is not acertified public accountant. District Attorney Violante released awritten statement saying in part that he will not make a practiceto justify his decisions to the press in regards to plea bargainoffers.
"If I don't get a response, I am going to ask for a board ofinquiry, which is an investigative unit of our Niagara CountyLegislature, to look into this, or ask the Attorney General to lookinto this," said Virtuoso.
Sara Donovan's attorney Henry Wojtaszek didn't return our call.He is Niagara County's former Republican Chairman. After DennisVirtuoso went on the record, the chairman of Niagara County'sLegislature said he would ask the District Attorney to explain theplea deal.
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