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Pa. man sentenced to prison in crash that killed Williamsport man

Stephen James Bonafede entered Alford pleas in January to one count negligent manslaughter and two counts of causing life-threatening injuries while driving under the influence of alcohol

April 10, 2013|By DON AINES | dona@herald-mail.com

A Pennsylvania man was sentenced Wednesday in Washington County Circuit Court to four years in state prison for the death of a Williamsport man and injuries to a woman and child in a fatal accident last summer.

Stephen James Bonafede, 27, of Mountville, Pa., entered Alford pleas in January to one count negligent manslaughter and two counts of causing life-threatening injuries while driving under the influence of alcohol, court records said.

The charges stemmed from a July 23, 2012, crash on Eastern Boulevard in which Luis Enrique Salazar-Reyna died of injuries he received in a head-on collision with the vehicle Bonafede was driving.

The crash occurred shortly before midnight on July 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.

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Salazar-Reyna 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, Assistant State’s Attorney Leon Debes said at the plea hearing in January.

Bonafede had a blood alcohol level of 0.17 percent, more than twice the legal limit for intoxication, Debes said after Wednesday’s sentencing. Investigators determined Bonafede’s vehicle was traveling at about 80 mph when he crossed the center line and hit Baez’s car, he said.

Baez and her son were both present at Wednesday’s sentencing, Debes said after the sentencing hearing.

On Wednesday, Judge M. Kenneth Long Jr. sentenced Bonafede to 10 years in prison and suspended six years, court records said. He will spend four years on supervised probation after his release from prison, court records said.

Bonafede was also ordered to perform 250 hours of community service, speaking to high school students about the dangers of drinking and driving,  Debes said after the sentencing hearing.

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