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Sexton sentenced to prison for drugged driving crash

John Christensen
The Chronicle-Express

PENN YAN — Danielle Sexton, 34, of Canisteo, was sentenced to 1 to 3 years in prison for a two-car crash in April 2019 that left the other driver with a brain injury.

Sexton

Appearing in Yates County Criminal Court before Judge Jason L. Cook, Sexton was shaking and crying as her sentence was read on her conviction for 1st-degree vehicular assault with a previous conviction (a class D felony), and DWAI by drugs with a previous conviction (a class E felony). Cook sentenced her to 1–3 years in prison on each charge, to be served concurrently, and with a recommendation for in-prison drug treatment programs. She must also pay a $1,000 fine, plus a mandatory state surcharge and DNA databank registry fee; and her license is suspended for 1 year.

Yates County District Attorney Todd Casella stated this was Sexton’s third arrest for the same crime in two years, and she has yet to be sentenced to another conviction in Livingston County. Probation interviews reported that Sexton believed the crash was not her fault and recommended state prison as the appropriate sentence.

Defense attorney Eric Smith argued for probation saying, “This is a catastrophe for everyone involved.” He described Sexton’s drug problem, her anxiety, and mental health issues, and that Sexton will lose her children while in prison. She lost her baby, and she will lose her nursing license by this conviction. “She has been severely punished already.”

Before the sentence, Sexton said, “I want to express how sorry I am. I wish I could take his pain away.” She admitted her addiction issues adding, “I take full responsibility. I don’t blame anybody but myself, and I am truly, truly sorry.”

While high on a cocktail of drugs, Sexton, a registered nurse with two children and pregnant with a third, was driving north on Ferguson Corners Road when she failed to stop at a stop sign at the intersection of Hall Road. She struck the westbound car of William Spears, 38, of Penn Yan. Both cars went off the road and struck two parked vehicles and a trash dumpster. Sexton was airlifted to Strong Memorial Hospital for treatment of abdominal pain and later miscarried. Spears was also taken to Strong for head injuries and multiple lacerations. He has suffered cognitive damage from his injury that will impact him for the rest of his life.