B  U  F  F  A  L  O      N  E  W  S       buffalonews.com

Andrea L. Glinski apologizes Friday in Erie County Court to two women she injured near Daemen College this year, but that didn’t stop a judge from sentencing her to state prison for leaving the scene of the accident.
Harry Scull Jr./Buffalo News

Hit-run brings prison term

One victim says driver left her there ‘to die’


Andrea L. Glinski apologized Friday to two women she injured near Daemen College this year, but that didn’t stop a judge from sentencing her to a near maximum prison term for leaving the scene of the injury accident.

“I know I should have stopped,” Glinski said, reading tearfully from a statement. “I can’t defend my actions, and I’m ashamed for what I did.”

After two hours of statements before about 100 courtroom spectators, Erie County Judge Thomas P. Franczyk sentenced Glinski to one to three years in state prison on her guilty plea to two felony charges of leaving the scene.

“You took the coward’s way out,” Franczyk told Glinski.

Her two victims— Amy E. Stewart and Rachel D. Baird—had harsh words for Glinski, who was driving the car that struck them at about 1:40 a. m. March 7 at the red light at Main Street and Campus Drive in Snyder, near Daemen, and then drove off.

Stewart, still using a cane to walk, wept as her brother read from a statement she wrote about how Glinski drove off and left her victims “to die” and called her “a self-centered coward.”

Stewart, 23, of Grand Island, is a former captain of the Daemen women’s soccer team who at the time of the accident was a reading aide for the Sweet Home School District. She was hospitalized 75 days and suffered a traumatic brain injury that still prevents her from speaking clearly. She has, however, returned to her graduate studies at the University at Buffalo in special education.

Baird, 22, of Syracuse, graduated from Daemen last spring and still faces surgery for knee problems. She also suffered a concussion and internal injuries.

Baird told the judge she still struggles “every day” with the severe injuries she suffered in the incident.

Baird was joined by Stewart’s brother and parents — Annmarie and Robert Stewart — in asking the judge to impose the maximum four-year prison sentence. They said they wanted him to send a message about the consequences of reckless and irresponsible driving.

After the victims and their families finished addressing the court, Glinski’s defense attorneys— Paul J. Cambria and Daniel M. Killelea— cited a recently obtained witness statement about the incident. The attorneys claimed the accident occurred when the two young women jogged across the street as the light changed and Glinski couldn’t avoid them because of another car.

Cambria told the judge that only two days ago, the defense attorneys were given the sworn statement of a “Mr. Jones” who told Amherst police he was at the intersection as the two women crossed with the light changing. He conceded that Glinski made “the wrong decision” in driving off.

But Kelley A. Omel, chief of the Erie County district attorney’s Vehicular Crimes Unit, said Glinski was prosecuted for leaving the scene of a serious injury accident without reporting it. Any statement to police concerning how the accident occurred was irrelevant, she said.

Omel told the judge that Amherst police found Glinski “lived her life” for six days after the crash, until a collision shop owner called police about her efforts to repair her damaged car. Omel said Glinski had three beers before the incident.

John “Jack” Pieri, 36, Glinski’s boyfriend who was her passenger that night, is being prosecuted in Amherst Town Court on fourth-degree criminal solicitation charges, a Class A misdemeanor, for urging her to drive away.

Omel told the judge that Glinski falsely told the collision shop owner that she had seen a flat bed truck strike and damage her car and drive off.

Following the sentencing, Stewart and her brother Michael told reporters their family was “relieved” at the imprisonment of Glinski and glad her passenger Pieri will also be held accountable for urging her to drive off.

The two victims also are suing Glinski in civil court.