Press release from the Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office:
Wednesday afternoon 80 year old William Louis LeVea, of Fulton, entered a guilty plea in Cayuga County Court in regards to the November 20, 2009 DWI crash that killed Christopher Spack (41 yoa), of Camillus, and seriously injured Bradley Leyburn of Cato.
Wednesday the defendant pled guilty to Aggravated Vehicular Homicide (Class B felony), Driving While Intoxicated (misd) and Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Fourth Degree (misd), in satisfaction of a 15 count indictment. The defendant also waived his right to appeal the conviction.
While the defendant maintained that he does not remember all of the events, he wanted to plead guilty because he believes that he would be found guilty at trial and wanted to avoid the possibility of a harsher sentence after trial. Because of the lack of memory about the incident, the defendant entered what is known as an “Alford plea.”
The defendant acknowledged that at trial the District Attorney could prove beyond a reasonable doubt that on November 20, 2009, at about 6:35 p.m., while driving westbound on Route 370 (east of Route 176) in the Town of Cato, the defendant recklessly and repeatedly rammed his car into the back of Christopher Spack’s small truck. Further, that the last time Levea hit Spack’s truck they were driving at approximately 80 miles per hour. The impact sent Spack’s truck spinning into oncoming traffic where Spack’s vehicle was struck by Bradley Leyburn’s Chevy Silverado. Mr. Spack’s truck was ripped in half and Spack was ejected from the truck and died instantly from his injuries. Bradley Leyburn suffered a serious ankle injury during the collision with Spack’s truck. The defendant further acknowledged that he was driving while having a blood alcohol content above 0.08% BAC in that two hours after the crash his blood alcohol level was tested at 0.16% BAC. The defendant, as a convicted felon could not legally possess long guns, and he pled guilty to having two rifles on the floor of the back seat of his car at the time of the crash.
The defendant will be sentenced to an agreed upon indeterminate term of imprisonment having a maximum of 18 years in prison (and a minimum of six years) on the Aggravated Vehicular Homicide charge. The two other counts are misdemeanors and carry one year jail terms. A pre-sentence probation report was ordered and sentencing will take place on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 9:00 a.m.
Under Leandra’s Law (signed into law two days before this homicide), the DWI conviction will also carry with it a post-release term of probation of three years. During this three year probation term the defendant will be subject to Ignition Interlock Device restrictions, will not be permitted to drive , and may not even apply for a driver’s license without the consent of the Court. Should the defendant ever get released to Parole, he would not be able to legally operate a motor vehicle.
The District Attorney and victims’ families intend to strongly oppose the defendant’s release at any and all parole hearings.
District Attorney Jon Budelmann said that he and the family of Christopher Spack had a lengthy and emotional meeting to discuss the plea and sentence offer. The family was very involved in this prosecution from day one and we reviewed all the various ramifications associated with the plea versus a trial.
DA Budelmann said that, “In the end, this admission and conviction (by guilty plea) and guaranteed lengthy prison sentence allows the family of Christopher Spack some measure of closure, although there is no conviction or sentence that could ever bring back the beloved 41 year old father, son and brother.” “This plea saves the victim’s family and the victim’s children from the additional emotional pain and suffering that would come from hearing the explicit details of this horrific crash. Spack’s children have wonderful and happy memories of their father and one of the family’s concerns in deciding to accept this plea was the emotional pain that they would suffer by hearing the details of how their father was killed. The plea also means not having to deal with the multitude of appeal issues that would certainly follow a conviction after trial. The finality offered by a guilty plea, with a case like this, gives the entire family a chance to start healing the wounds and pain that they have been dealing with for more than a year.” “It was important for the family to finally hear the defendant accept responsibility for his actions.”
The defendant continues to be held in the Cayuga County Jail without bail awaiting sentencing.
The deceased victim, Christopher Spack, was a 41 year old father of two children, a 16-year- old daughter and a 10-year-old son. In addition to his own children, he had a step-daughter. He was also survived by his wife, his mother and father, his step-father, four brothers, a sister, 6 nieces, nephews, and many other loving relatives and friends. There has been a trust fund set up for the welfare of Christopher Spack’s children. Donations can be made to the:
Christopher J. Spack Memorial Trust
PO Box 341
Camillus, NY 13031-0341