Amherst Man Pleads Guilty In Deadly Drunk Driving Crash

Modified: December 7, 2016 2:04pm

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Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty, Jr. announces that 24-year-old Dennis Xenos of Amherst has pleaded guilty before Erie County Court Judge Thomas P. Franczyk to Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree and Vehicular Assault in the Second Degree. 

Xenos was intoxicated when he crashed his car at 3:20 a.m. Friday, July 8, 2016 on the "S" curves section of Delaware Ave.  A passenger in the vehicle, Christopher Rizzo was pronounced dead at ECMC a short time later and another passenger, Veronica Hager is currently at home still recovering from her injuries.  

Xenos remains free on $35,000 bail.  His driver’s license is revoked, and he has been ordered to stay away from alcohol and drugs. Xenos faces a maximum of seven years in prison when he is sentenced by Judge Franczyk on March 3, 2017 at 2 p.m. 

Acting DA Flaherty commends the investigative work of Buffalo Police Department Lt. Tom Leatherbarrow and Officer Robert Heidinger. 

“The thorough investigation of the Buffalo Police Department Accident Investigation Unit probably was a factor the defendant considered in deciding to plead guilty,” says acting DA Flaherty. “I am grateful he has accepted responsibility for his choices and actions that evening. With the holiday season approaching, we must remind ourselves to be careful and thoughtful when we make the decision to get behind the wheel. There is no such thing as a short, safe distance to drive if you have had too much to drink.”

Assistant District Attorney Christopher M. McCarthy is prosecuting the case.