Suspect in Grand Island hit and run case pleads guilty

GRAND ISLAND, N.Y. (WIVB) – The suspect in June’s hit and run accident that left a woman seriously injured has pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident resulting in personal injury.

27 year-old Edward Kuebler, who was a corrections officer, now faces 1 to 3 years behind bars himself.

He pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an incident resulting in serious injury in front of Judge Kenneth Case Wednesday in Erie County court.

He admitted he hit 53-year-old Dana Papaj with his truck, while she was walking her dog on east river road on Grand Island back in June. The accident left Papaj in a coma. Now, months later, she’s still recovering and suffers from severe memory loss.

“She doesn’t remember who her parents were, what school she went to, she doesn’t remember the birth of her own children,” said Steve Cohen, the lawyer of the Papaj family.

Papaj is seen here at ECMC Wednesday afternoon during the unusual visit of therapy horses. She has a long road ahead.

“Dana has to walk with a cane, she’s receiving numerous therapies every day and our thoughts and our prayers are with Dana,” said Catherine Aughey, the lawyer of the Papaj family.

The Papaj family was in court Wednesday.

Steve Cohen, the family’s lawyer, says they’re somewhat relieved the case won’t go to trial, but are still devastated.

“When your memory has been taken from you, your history, the essence of who are has been taken from you it’s a tragedy that’s indescribable,” said Cohen.

Kuebler’s lawyer had no comment at this time.

The family’s lawyer says the family is asking for prayers for Dana’s recovery. Kuebler is scheduled to be sentenced in January.

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

Police say Kuebler failed to stop after the collision and fled the scene.

Kuebler’s sentencing is set for 9:30 a.m. Jan. 17.

He could face one to three years in prison.

The judge has ruled that bail will still be set at $5,000 on the condition that his license is suspended and he will not be able to drive.

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