Michael Carr with his brother by his side leaves the Albany County Courthouse after his arraignment on April 13. (Photo by Jim Franco)
ALBANY – Michael Carr stood in front of a judge on Tuesday, Dec. 19, and admitted to driving under the influence last October before smashing his car into a vehicle parked outside Blessings Tavern, seriously injuring his friend and passenger Niko DiNovo.
As part of pleading guilty to felony assault and misdemeanor DWAI, the 19-year-old will spend six years in prison.
Sentencing by Judge William Carter is slated for Jan. 30.
“I was driving and I was with Niko and I crashed into a bar and Niko got hurt and I broke my wrist and that’s about it,” he told Carter while standing next to his attorney Trevor Hannigan. “And then there was a fire and an explosion and Niko got seriously hurt.”
With his family in the gallery and he dressed in a faded yellow Albany County Correctional Facility jumpsuit, Carr admitted to having one Captain Morgan rum and coke at around 10 p.m. and smoking marijuana at around 8 p.m. on Oct. 28, 2016. He said he was driving 60 mph on Consaul Road at around 11 p.m. when the fiery crash occurred, and that speed caused him to lose control of the vehicle.
The Assistant District Attorney in charge of the Vehicular Crimes Unit, Mary Tanner-Richter, clarified the statement and said he first hit a pickup truck parked at the popular bar/restaurant and pushed the truck into the bar that was full of patrons – three of whom were injured.
DiNovo, then 16, suffered third-degree burns over 95 percent of his body and has been at the Westchester Hospital Burn Unit since the accident. He has undergone numerous reconstruction surgeries.
Carr had been out on bail in the custody of probation, but earlier this month he violated the terms and Spectrum News 9 reported he had been back in jail since Dec. 1.
As part of the deal, Tanner-Richter said the DA’s office will not look for additional charges should DiNovo succumb to his injuries. If Carr was found guilty at trial, he could have faced 15 years in prison.
Blessing’s Tavern was destroyed, though the owner has made application to the town to rebuild the popular neighborhood watering hole.