LOCKPORT – Rodney W. Craft, 46, of Maple Terrace, North Tonawanda, pleaded guilty to a felony count of driving while intoxicated Wednesday, risking a trip to state prison when Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III sentences him Aug. 27.
In a May 29 court appearance, Craft had refused to plead guilty because Murphy wouldn’t commit to a maximum sentence of one year in the County Jail. Wednesday, Murphy still wouldn’t make that pledge, but Deputy District Attorney Theodore A. Brenner said he is recommending the local jail sentence. However, Murphy still could send Craft to state prison for up to four years on the Class E felony.
Craft was scheduled for trial Monday on a Class D DWI felony that could have brought him a seven-year prison term. Brenner said Craft was followed home by a North Tonawanda police officer Nov. 5 after Craft ran a stop sign at East and Gilmore avenues. Craft reportedly failed field sobriety tests before being arrested, Brenner said.