Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announced today that 29 year-old Thomas Gilray, Jr., an Erie County Sheriff’s dispatcher, pleaded guilty to Vehicular Assault in the 1st Degree (which requires proof of serious physical injury to two or more victims), before Acting State Supreme Court Justice John L. Michalski. Gilray pleaded guilty to an offense greater than that originally lodged (Vehicular Assault in the 2nd Degree) against him and it is the highest charge for which he could have been convicted had he gone to trial.
On April 1, 2013, in the vicinity of Route 5 and the Milestrip Road in the Town of Hamburg, vehicles driven by 61 year-old William Sheehan and 32 year-old Michael Serrano were involved in a relatively minor collision. As a Town of Hamburg Police Officer was investigating the accident, a pick-up truck bore down at the scene at approximately 83 miles per hour, forcing the police officer to jump over the hood of his illuminated patrol car. Sheehan and Serrano were not so fortunate, as the pick-up truck struck them. Both victims suffered traumatic brain injuries. The speeding pick-up truck was driven by the defendant, Thomas Gilray, Jr., who was uncooperative with the authorities investigating the crash. Accordingly, the District Attorney’s Office secured a court order, forcing Gilray to provide a sample of his blood. Testing revealed that Gilray’s blood alcohol content (BAC) was .12%. The professional investigation undertaken by the Hamburg Police Department also revealed that Gilray had been drinking at the Dyngus Day festival.
The case was successfully prosecuted by ADA Christopher McCarthy, who is assigned to DA Sedita’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau. Gilray faces a maximum of seven years behind bars when he is sentenced on November 26, 2013 by Justice Michalski.