A Cheektowaga man was sentenced today [June 22] to up to four years in prison for a drunken driving crash that killed a working tow truck operator.
David Brown, 65, of Markus Drive, was taken into custody about 10 a.m. after State Supreme Court Justice Penny M. Wolfgang handed down the sentence. Wolfgang acknowledged Brown's "obvious remorse" for the death of Kevin Coffta on the southbound Niagara Thruway in the Town of Tonawanda about 5 a.m. April 2, 2008.
Brown pleaded guilty March 31 to vehicular manslaughter and misdemeanor drunken driving and had been free on $25,000 bail until today. His minimum prison term will be the next 16 months.
Coffta, 28 of Clarence Center, was standing outside his flatbed tow truck preparing to tow an abandoned vehicle when Brown's southbound SUV veered onto the shoulder, sideswiped the abandoned vehicle and struck Coffta.
Darlene Coffta, the mother of the victim who left a wife and a now-7-year-old son, tearfully told the judge and Brown her son was so horribly injured that "we never even gave him one last kiss and hug."
Darlene Coffta, who was accompanied to court by her husband Joseph and about two dozen friends and relatives, told Brown his prison term cannot compare "to the sentence you imposed on our family." She told Brown that in the end "God will give you what you deserve."
Before had spent the 14 hours before the crash in the Seneca Niagara Casino. Before being taken from court in handcuffs, stressed that he had not had a drink or gambled since the fatal incident. He told the judge he has sought solace with God and turned to the Cofftas and said of the fatal incident: "It hurts me just as much as it hurts" them.