Drunk Driver Pleads Guilty to the Highest Charge for Killing Teenage Passenger in Crash in Town of Cheektowaga

Modified: June 29, 2022 2:30pm

6/29/2022

Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 22-year-old Mkaipa M. Muya of Buffalo pleaded guilty this morning before Erie County Court Judge Susan Maxwell Barnes to one count of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (Class “B” felony). The defendant pleaded guilty to the highest count in the indictment against him.

On Monday, February 22, 2021, at approximately 4:00 a.m., the defendant was driving a sedan at a high-rate of speed while under the influence of alcohol when he crashed into a utility pole on Walden Avenue near Hoerner Avenue in the Town of Cheektowaga. The force of the collision caused his car to crash into a building after the vehicle hit the pole.

A 30-year-old male, who was sitting the front passenger seat, was taken to ECMC with minor injuries. The back-seat passenger was ejected from the vehicle upon impact. The victim, 17-year-old Leena Velez, died at ECMC from her injuries. The defendant did not suffer any injuries.

Muya faces a maximum of 25 years in prison when he is sentenced on Wednesday, September 14, 2022 at 2:00 p.m. He was held without bail.

DA Flynn commends the Cheektowaga Police Department for their work in the investigation.

The case was prosecuted by Chief Paul C. Glascott of the Vehicular Crimes Bureau.