Pa. man enters Alford plea to negligent manslaughter by vehicle

Stephen James Bonafede faces possible prison sentence in death of Williamsport man

January 03, 2013|By DON AINES |
  • Stephen James Bonafede
Washington County Sheriff's Office

A Pennsylvania man faces a possible state prison sentence after he entered an Alford plea Thursday to negligent manslaughter by vehicle in the death of a Williamsport man last summer.

Stephen James Bonafede, 27, of Mountville, Pa., also entered Alford pleas to two counts of causing life-threatening injuries in a July 24 crash on Eastern Boulevard near Security Road.

An Alford plea is not an admission of guilt, but is an acknowledgment that the state has enough evidence to gain a conviction.

Assistant Washington County State’s Attorney Leon Debes told Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. that the state was seeking a 16-year sentence with all but five years suspended. Long ordered a presentence investigation and set sentencing for March 11, court records said.

The crash occurred shortly before midnight on July 24 when, according to the charging documents filed by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, Bonafede was driving a 2004 Cadillac CTS north on Eastern Boulevard when it crossed the center line and struck a southbound 1999 Toyota Corolla driven by Denise Baez of Hagerstown.


Luis Enrique Salazar-Reyna, 19, of Williamsport was Baez’s front seat passenger. He later died of injuries at Meritus Medical Center east of Hagerstown.

Baez, who was 22 years old at the time of the crash, was flown to R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Medical Center in Baltimore. Her son Yesiel Baez, who was 3, was flown to Children’s National Medical Center, Washington, D.C.

The mother had several broken bones and the child sustained a broken arm, lacerated liver and a head cut in the crash, Debes said after the plea hearing.

Long revoked Bonafede’s bail and ordered him held in the county detention center until sentencing, Debes said.

As part of the plea agreement, several other charges against Bonafede were dismissed, including criminal negligent manslaughter by vehicle and negligent vehicle homicide while driving under the influence, court records said.

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