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Driver pleads guilty to charges from fatal Cayuga Co. wreck

The Cayuga County District Attorney’s Office announced that Kadesha Dunham, 24, of North Syracuse pleaded guilty to two counts of Criminally Negligent Homicide, and 3 counts of Assault in the Third Degree, resulting from the fatal motor vehicle crash June 16, 2017 on Franklin Street Road in the Town of Sennett. Criminally Negligent Homicide is a felony and carries a maximum sentence of up to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison.

The defendant suffered a Traumatic Brain Injury and has no memory of the events of June 16th, 2017. Nevertheless, she agreed during her plea colloquy that the proof would establish beyond a reasonable doubt that she was operating a 2015 Hyundai Sonata westbound on Franklin Street Road in the Town of Sennett at about 10:30 a.m. on Friday June 16th. After making two other unsuccessful attempts to pass a concrete truck, on her third attempt to pass, in a no-passing zone, and while on a blind hill, the vehicle she was operating slammed head on into an east bound pick-up truck operated by William Curtis of Skaneateles. Curtis suffered a concussion during the crash.

Dunham’s front seat passenger, 29 year old Terrell Jackson, and a 2 year old child in the back seat of Dunham’s vehicle, Iy’Leiah Noreault, were both killed. A back seat passenger, 30 year old Shandelle Benjamin-Noreault, the mother the 2 year old child, suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Dunham’s own 3 year old son, who was also in the back seat, was left paralyzed as a result of his injuries.

There was no evidence that alcohol or drug impairment played a role in the crash.

The defendant’s TBI and other permanent medical conditions require specialized housing and programs to care for her in a supervised home. The program has an eligibility restriction that prevents anyone who has been incarcerated from qualifying and it was expected that Dunham would have been granted medical parole immediately.

Accordingly, after consultation with the families of the deceased Terrell Jackson and Iy’Leiah Noreault, other surviving victims, and the Court, the decision was made that she would be sentenced to 5 years’ Probation (with strict supervision conditions) to give this Court greater control over the defendant’s behavior, for a longer period than the prison and parole time she faced. Her conditions will include: a curfew; not being able to drive, or hold a license; compliance with her doctors/the TBI program rules and directives; not being able to drink or use any drugs (other than those prescribed to her by a doctor); not associating with anyone on probation, parole, or of questionable character; and a permanent order of protection for the family of Terrell Jackson.
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