21 year old Christopher Tulumello of Amherst plead guilty to vehicular manslaughter, vehicular assault, and DWI all in the first degree on Tuesday in Erie County Court. Tulumello plead guilty to the highest charges possible in this case. His attorneys and family would not comment. The prosecutor says part of the reason for the higher charges has to do with a previous charge that Tulumello has. "A previous driving while impaired conviction and that's a basis for what elevated these charges to the high level," prosecutor James Bargnesi said.
Tulumello was arrested after he hit and killed Amanda Knowlton while she was crossing Main Street in Buffalo with her 4 year old son in December. She was pregnant.
The attorneys for the victim's family say the family is pleased with the guilty plea but also know that everyone is hurting in this. "Glad this is over, glad that he pleaded to these serious charges, and didn't put the family through a trial," attorney Steve Boyd said.
"The family of course is grieving... they are very pleased that he plead to the highest charges and they feel that justice was served in that regard," attorney Joseph Morath said. "While they are grieving for themselves they understand they're not the only family suffering here. They understand that Tulumello and his family are suffering as well. And they have faith in the judge and the court, and put their reliance on the justice system to hand down an appropriate sentence."
The victim leaves behind two sons, a one year old and the 4 year old who was injured during the accident. He is now five and physically doing better. "He had a broken arm and physically he's made a pretty good recovery," Boyd said. "I think over time he certainly understands his mom hasn't come back. At first I don't think he fully understood that but I think now he understands."
Tulumello is allowed continued release with an ankle monitor until sentencing, after previously posting bail. Sentencing is scheduled for July.