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Weedsport man charged with manslaughter after fatal Rt. 31 wreck

Charges have been filed in a fatal wreck that happened earlier this year in Cayuga County.

District Attorney Jon Budelmann says Tristan Hope was arraigned today on a five count indictment, the top count is Manslaughter in the Second Degree. In addition, he was charged with Driving While Ability Impaired by Drugs (Fentanyl), Reckless Driving, Criminal Possession of Controlled Substance in the Seventh Degree (Heroin laced with Fentanyl), (all misdemeanors) and Failure to Keep Right. The Manslaughter 2nd Degree carries a sentence up to 5 to 15 years in prison. The defendant pled not guilty at his arraignment.

Tristan Reed Hope, 25, of Throop, is charged with driving west on Route 31 near Centerport Road at approximately 3:14 p.m. on February 8 when he recklessly caused the death of Michael Maltese, of Weedsport.

The indictment alleges that he was aware of and consciously disregarded a substantial and unjustifiable risk of causing this fatal crash when he operated a motor vehicle after ingesting Heroin laced with Fentanyl, while looking down and not paying attention to the road for so long a time that he did not see the oncoming traffic on this straight, clear, dry portion of road on that sunny afternoon. He crossed the center line of the road where his truck struck Maltese’s truck head-on in the eastbound lane, after almost hitting another vehicle that had also been traveling in the Eastbound lane in front of Maltese.

The defendant is currently out of jail on a $20,000 secured bail bond. Even though indicted on a more serious charge, due to the Bail Elimination Act, it was not possible to increase his $20,000 bail bond, nor remand him without bail, Budelmann said. The posted Bail Bond was continued by Judge Leone. Motions will be heard November 30, 2021 at 3 p.m. His trial date was set to start April 25, 2022 and the Court set aside two weeks for the trial.