Two Drag Racers Plead Guilty In Fatal Crash

Modified: October 17, 2016 4:50pm

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Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael J. Flaherty, Jr. announces that 20-year-old Kody Schroeder of Holland and 18-year-old Mercedes Castillo of Holland have pleaded guilty before State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang for their role in a deadly drag race. 

Schroeder pleaded guilty to Manslaughter in the Second Degree, Vehicular Manslaughter in the Second Degree and Vehicular Assault in the First Degree. 

Castillo pleaded guilty to Criminally Negligent Homicide and Assault in the Third Degree. 

On April 12, 2016 at approximately 2:10 p.m., Castillo was driving a vehicle on Center Street in Colden, NY that was travelling at a high rate of speed with another speeding car driven by Schroeder. 

Schroeder’s vehicle then crashed into the back of a pickup truck that was turning into the driveway at 8137 Center Street.  The collision resulted in the death of a passenger in Schroeder’s car, 28-year-old Chauncey Kloiber of Wales and the serious physical injury of another passenger in Schroeder’s car, 20-year-old Tabitha Trautwein of Holland.  Ms. Trautwein is recovering at a rehabilitation center. 

Schroeder faces a maximum of 15 years in prison and Castillo faces a maximum of four years in prison when they are sentenced by Justice Wolfgang on December 14, 2016 at 9:30 a.m.

Acting DA Flaherty credits the Erie County Sheriff’s Office for their investigative work, including Sergeant Eric Kaderli, Deputy Jeff Ely, Deputy Simon Biegasiewicz and Deputy Christopher Soluri. 

Kelley Omel, Chief of DA Flaherty’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau, is prosecuting the case.