Buffalo Man Pleads Guilty to DUI Death of Passenger

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Judge in the courtroom. Male judge striking the gavel.

BUFFALO, NY – Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn announces that 29-year-old Tremayne D. Brooks of Buffalo pleaded guilty this morning before State Supreme Court Justice M. William Boller to one count of Vehicular Manslaughter in the First Degree, a Class “C” non-violent felony, and one count of Criminal Possession of a Weapon in the Second Degree, a Class “C” violent felony. The defendant pleaded guilty to the highest sustainable charges in the indictment against him.

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On August 3, 2019, at approximately 6:00 a.m., the defendant was driving, under the influence of alcohol and marijuana, on Memorial Drive in the City of Buffalo when he lost control of the SUV and hit a tree. The crash caused the vehicle to flip over. His passenger, 42-year-old Toni Abernathy, was pronounced dead at the scene. Investigators found an illegal gun inside the vehicle.

Brooks attempted to run away from the crash, but was arrested nearby and taken to ECMC. He spent nearly a month in the hospital to be treated for his injuries.

Brooks faces a maximum of 15 years in prison when he is sentenced on Tuesday, February 9, 2021 at 10:30 a.m. The defendant remains released on previously posted bail.

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DA Flynn commends the Buffalo Police Department Accident Investigation Unit and Officer Lauren McDermott for their work in the investigation. DA Flynn also commends the Good Samaritan who stopped at the scene of the crash and attempted to help the victim.

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The case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorney Christopher M. McCarthy of the Vehicular Crimes Bureau.