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Falling Asleep at the Wheel Leads to a One-Year Jail Sentence


11/20/2013

Erie County District Attorney Frank A. Sedita, III announced that 59 year old Steven Reitz of Cato, New York, was sentenced to 1 year incarceration at the Erie County Correctional Facility by Clarence Town Justice Michael B. Powers after pleading guilty, as charged, on August 20, 2013 to Falsifying Business Records, Reckless Driving, Driving While Fatigued and Failure to Keep Right. 

On October 13, 2012 Reitz was driving a tractor trailer on Transit Road in Clarence when he fell asleep at the wheel.  As a result, he crossed over the double yellow lines into oncoming traffic and struck the SUV being driven by Howard Vahue, killing both Mr. Vahue and his wife, Barbara Vahue.  The truck crashed into a couple cars and into a veterinary clinic causing extensive damage in an amount exceeding $100,000.  Reitz had gone without sleep for at least 24 hours prior to operating the tractor trailer.  There was no proof that Reitz was intoxicated or under the influence of drugs.

Assistant District Attorney Kelley A. Omel, Chief of DA Sedita’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau successfully prosecuted the case.