District Attorney Jon Budelmann says the man involved in a fatal hit-and-run last November has pleaded guilty to the top count of his indictment.
Heriberto Perez-Valasquez pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide, which is a Class B felony, as well as aggravated DWI, reckless driving, and unlicensed operation of a vehicle.
Perez-Velasquez has been remanded without bail until he is sentenced to an agreed upon indeterminate term of imprisonment, where the State Department of Correction must hold him for a minimum of 7 to 24 years.
Sentencing is scheduled for November 24th.
The Aggravated Vehicular Homicide charge stems from a November 10, 2019 crash that killed 59-year-old Mark Knapp. The Weedsport resident was a local small business owner.
Perez-Velasquez was driving East on Route 31 near Watson Street in the Village of Weedsport with a blood alcohol content of 0.21%. He operated his vehicle in a reckless manner, veering completely off the South side of the road and off the paved shoulder.
While his vehicle was subsequently returning to the paved shoulder of the road his car struck a motor vehicle, a compact tractor fully on the shoulder of the road being operated by 59-year-old Mark Knapp of Hamilton Street, Weedsport.
Perez-Velasquez’s car struck the motor vehicle from behind with such force that it bent the heavy frame and overturned the vehicle. As a result of the impact, the driver Mark Knapp was ejected from his vehicle, thrown to the pavement, and died at the scene from the injuries he sustained.
Perez-Velasquez was previously deported to Guatemala in 2007 and re-entered the United States illegally.
Earlier this year Perez-Velasquez was convicted of illegal re-entry to the U.S. and sentenced to time served with a deportation order.
It will be executed after he serves his sentence.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Diane Adsit said that the family of Mark Knapp is relieved that the defendant has accepted responsibility and plead guilty, but indicated that nothing will make their family whole again. Sr. ADA Adsit thanked all the witnesses, the Cayuga County Sheriff’s Office, New York State Police, Cayuga County 911, Jordan Ambulance crew, Weedsport Fire Dept, Port Byron Fire Dept, and the Port Byron Ambulance crew, for their work at the scene, throughout the investigation, and during the prosecution of the case.
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