Man, 23, gets maximum of year in jail for hit-and-run that seriously injured teen girl
ALBION – A Hamlin man was given the maximum of a year in the Orleans County Jail for driving under the influence of heroin and other drugs, and striking and seriously injuring a girl last Sept. 16 on County Line Road in Murray.
County Court Judge James Punch said he wished he could have sentenced Cody L. Buzard to prison, but Buzard is a first-time offender and the maximum sentence for the crime is a year in jail.
Buzard admitted in County Court in April to using heroin and other drugs on Sept. 16, when he hit a 14-year-old girl with a pickup truck and then fled the scene.
He pleaded guilty to attempted vehicular assault in the second degree, driving while ability impaired by drugs and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
The aunt of the injured girl addressed the court, saying her niece was unrecognizable when she was found lying by the road after being hit by the pickup. Her legs were black from bruising, with one at a grotesque angle. She needed a metal plate in her pelvis, a screw in her back, and 13 staples in her stomach after surgery for her kidney and liver.
The teen faced a long road to recovery, but has rebounded due to her courage and determination, her aunt told the court today during sentencing.
District Attorney Joe Cardone said Buzard had taken numerous narcotics.
“He had nearly every substance in his system you could imagine,” Cardone said at sentencing. “This victim will have scars that are emotional and physical the rest of her life.”
Buzard’s attorney Larry Koss said his client has stayed away from alcohol and drugs since the accident 10 months ago.
Buzard feels “tremendous regret” over the accident, Koss said.
“This is not something where he will just go on with his life,” Koss said. “It’s been a driving force for change in his life.”
Buzard has completed a relapse prevention program through the Genesee-Orleans Council on Alcoholism and Substance Abuse and is determined to stay off drugs, Koss said.
Judge Punch said Buzard hurt a child, which is a “terrible tragedy.” Other drivers have hit children, Punch said, but Buzard did “with an incredible cocktail of illegal drugs in his system.”
He then drove away from the scene on County Line Road after the accident at about 8 p.m. (After driving away, he came back to the scene and turned himself over to investigators about an hour after the incident.)
“It’s a very selfish act to take that many drugs and drive a car because you take a chance of hurting someone,” Punch said. “And then you did the cowardly act of driving away and leaving a child by the side of the road.”