MAYS LANDING — A Galloway man pleaded guilty this week to leaving the scene of a fatal accident that killed an Atlantic City man as he crossed the street in his motorized wheelchair.
Leo Strazzeri, 42, previously denied he was driving his car when it was involved in the hit-and-run that killed Daniel Tavarez, 45, at Route 30 and Pennsylvania Avenue last July 9.
Police found his car unoccupied, then arrested Strazzeri at the Revel casino, where he was working as a dealer. He was taken to the hospital for testing. Ten days later, he was arrested.
Strazzeri was issued multiple motor vehicle summonses, including careless driving, failure to exhibit a license or registration, uninsured motorist and reckless driving.
He was later criminally charged.
Tavarez was crossing Route 30 from his apartment at the HighGate when he was struck. He was going to the store to get a neighbor milk.
Strazzeri's attorney, Steve Scheffler, said Friday he will ask for leniency at sentencing.
“I'm hoping, under the circumstances, the court recognizes it was an accident and takes into consideration my client has no prior criminal history,” Scheffler said. “It was really a sad set of circumstances.”
Tuesday’s plea is an “open” one, meaning Strazzeri would be sentenced at the judge's discretion under the terms of a second-degree crime, which can be five to 10 years. The sentencing is set for Aug. 2.
Contact Lynda Cohen:
Follow Lynda Cohen on Twitter @LyndaCohen