Weekly Feature

2010-04-08 / Front Page

Police make first arrest under Leandra’s Law


A West Seneca man arrested March 29 for allegedly driving while intoxicated was charged with three felonies — one that specifically falls under the new state legislation known as Leandra’s Law.

Formally known as the Child Passenger Protection Act, the law became official in December and makes it a felony to drive drunk with a child younger than 15 in the car.

Officer Dan Volpe stopped David G. McKenzie, 43, shortly before 3 a.m. after observing McKenzie’s vehicle make a right turn from Orchard Park Road into the left lane of traffic on Potters Road, instead of continuing into the right lane.

According to police, McKenzie had impaired motor coordination and a strong odor of alcohol on his breath and also failed several sobriety tests. The DWI charge became a felony because there was a 14-year-old passenger in the vehicle at the time.

Police said the mother of the teen involved responded to the scene to take the child home, and it was unclear how the three were related.

Lt. David Szmania said this was the first arrest made by West Seneca police under the new law. He noted that subjects were typically charged with endangering the welfare of a child in similar cases prior to Leandra’s Law taking effect.

McKenzie ultimately faces several infractions and three Class E felonies — the other two for a prior DWI conviction within 10 years and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle due to carrying a suspended non-driver identification card.

He was arraigned the morning of the arrest by West Seneca Judge Dale McCabe and returned to the Erie County Holding Center for failing to make $5,000 bail.

e-mail: kmcdowell@beenews.com

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