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LOCKPORT – A man who crashed his car into a tree on the Tuscarora Indian Reservation last summer, fatally injuring his best friend, pleaded guilty Wednesday in Niagara County Court.

Pierce L. Abrams, 22, of Printup Road on the reservation, admitted to second-degree vehicular manslaughter and a misdemeanor count of driving while intoxicated.

He could receive anything from probation to seven years in state prison when he returns to court March 22 for sentencing by County Judge Sara Sheldon Farkas, who made no promises.

Deputy District Attorney Theodore A. Brenner said Abrams’ blood alcohol content was measured at 0.22 percent - nearly three times the level at which a person is considered intoxicated – after the Aug. 19 crash that killed Kyle Atkins, 22.

“He is very remorseful,” said Abrams’ attorney, Joel L. Daniels. “His best friend and almost a member of his family died that night. It’s something he’ll carry with him for the rest of his days.”

The wreck occurred about 4:45 a.m. on Mount Hope Road just east of Green Road. Lewiston police said Abrams’ 2008 Suzuki was speeding westbound when it went out of control. It crossed the road and struck the ditch, a culvert and a small boulder before becoming airborne and smashing into a tree. The vehicle then overturned.

Atkins died of his injuries Aug. 24 in Erie County Medical Center.

Brenner said Atkins’ mother approved the pre-indictment plea offer.

Daniels said Abrams received a lacrosse scholarship to Syracuse University. He attended Syracuse for three semesters starting in the fall of 2009 but never played a game, according to Mike Morrison of the Syracuse sports information office.

email: tprohaska@buffnews.com