LOCKPORT – The defendants in a fatal car-pedestrian accident and the beating of a professional boxer were offered plea bargains this week, and both will return to court early in January to say whether they will accept the offers.
Francis A. Maikranz, 55, of Whitney Avenue, Niagara Falls, was offered a plea to leaving the scene of a fatal crash without reporting and leaving the scene of a serious injury accident.
Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas ordered Maikranz to come back to court Jan. 2 to say if he will plead guilty or go to trial as scheduled March 4. If he takes the plea, he faces a maximum sentence of 11 years in prison.
Maikranz’s car struck Nicole Rodriguez, 26, of the Falls as she was crossing Hyde Park Boulevard at Jerauld Avenue at about 10 p.m. June 18. Rodriguez died the next day in Erie County Medical Center. Her 6-year-old son also was hurt in the accident; he was knocked 50 feet in the air by the impact.
Maikranz was arrested June 27 at his girlfriend’s house in the Town of Niagara. He reportedly told police he did not know he had struck anyone.
It was the same story Dr. James Corasanti of Amherst told police in connection with the death of 18-year-old Alix Rice in July 2011. A jury believed Corasanti, acquitting him of all charges except misdemeanor driving while intoxicated. He was sentenced to one year in jail.
Alcohol is not believed to have been a factor in the Maikranz-Rodriguez case.
In the other case, Michael P. Vicki has until Jan. 4 to decide whether to plead guilty to a reduced charge of attempted first-degree assault.
Vicki, 31, of Portland Street, Town of Niagara, is accused of beating junior welterweight boxer Nick Casal, 27, with a metal object May 12, when Casal came to Vicki’s home in a dispute over a woman.
Deputy District Attorney Doreen M. Hoffmann said results on DNA testing on blood spatter at the scene were received Tuesday, with results showing both men’s blood at the scene of the fight.
She declined to discuss further details, as the defense has speculated that the results might bolster Vicki’s claim of self-defense.
Vicki faces a mandatory state prison term of at least 3½ years if he pleads guilty. The legal maximum for the charge is 15 years, but Farkas promised to give Vicki no more than seven years in prison and five years of post-release supervision if he takes the plea.
If he is convicted in a trial slated to begin Jan. 28, Vicki could be sentenced to something between five and 25 years behind bars.
He faces other legal troubles in the form of an indictment charging him with insurance fraud and attempted grand larceny in the wake of a May 6 accident in which he crashed his car into a tree on Frontier Avenue in the Falls.
Vicki allegedly left the scene and told his insurer the car had been stolen.