Intoxicated Driver Sentenced for Gun and Vehicular Manslaughter Charges

Modified: February 23, 2021 10:21am

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Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 29-year-old Tremayne D. Brooks of Buffalo was sentenced yesterday afternoon before State Supreme Court Justice M. William Boller to a determinate sentence of 3 ½ years in prison followed by an indeterminate sentence of 1 to 3 years in prison. He received the determinate sentence for his guilty plea to possession of an illegal gun, which he will serve before beginning his sentence on the vehicle manslaughter charge.

On August 3, 2019, at approximately 6:00 a.m., the defendant was driving while under the influence of alcohol and marijuana on Memorial Drive in the City of Buffalo when he lost control of the SUV and hit a tree. The crash caused the vehicle to flip over. His passenger, 42-year-old Toni Abernathy, was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators also found an illegal gun inside the vehicle.

Brooks attempted to run away from the crash, but was arrested nearby and taken to ECMC. He spent nearly a month in the hospital to be treated for his injuries.

Brooks pleaded guilty to one count of Vehicular Manslaughter in the First Degree (Class “C” non-violent felony) and one count of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree (Class “C” violent felony). The defendant pleaded guilty to the highest sustainable charges in the indictment against him on November 24, 2020.

DA Flynn commends the Buffalo Police Department Accident Investigation Unit and Officer Lauren McDermott for their work in the investigation. DA Flynn also commends the Good Samaritan who stopped at the scene of the crash and attempted to help the victim.  

The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Christopher M. McCarthy of the DA’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau.