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Intoxicated Driver Sentenced for Killing Another Motorist in Wrong-Way Crash

Acting Erie County District Attorney Michael J. Keane announces that 53-year-old Guillermo Morales of Buffalo was sentenced this afternoon before State Supreme Court Justice Paul B. Wojtaszek. He received an indeterminate sentence of 5 to 15 years in prison. 

On Saturday, August 12, 2023, at approximately 3:06 a.m., the defendant, while driving under the influence of alcohol and a drug, caused a collision on the I-190 near the Scajaquada Expressway in the City of Buffalo. The defendant was driving north on the southbound side of the highway when he crashed his pickup truck head-on into another vehicle. The driver of the other vehicle, 38-year-old Matthew J. Czop of Tonawanda, was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Morales was taken by ambulance to be treated for non-life threatening injuries. He was arraigned later the same day while hospitalized at ECMC. During the investigation, the defendant was found in possession of a quantity of suspected cocaine. The suspected narcotic was submitted into evidence for further testing, which confirmed that the substance was powder cocaine.

The defendant pleaded guilty to all counts in the indictment as our office did not offer a reduced plea agreement in this case. Morales pleaded guilty, as charged, to three counts of Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (Class “B” felonies), one count of Manslaughter in the Second Degree (Class “C” felony), one count of Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the Fourth Degree (Class “C” felony) and one count of Aggravated Unlicensed Operation in the First Degree (Class “E” felony) on Thursday, April 11, 2024.

Acting DA Keane commends the New York State Police Collision Reconstruction Unit and Bureau of Criminal Investigation for their work in this investigation.   

The case was prosecuted by Chief Paul J. Glascott and Assistant District Attorney Bethany A. Solek of the Vehicular Crimes Bureau as well as Assistant District Attorney William E. Szczepanski of the Felony Trials Bureau.