GENESEO – The man who caused a fatal accident in the Village two years ago pled guilty to a misdemeanor charge.
Michael Bellonte, 30, pled guilty to misdemeanor Reckless Driving and was sentenced to a one-year conditional discharge during which he cannot be arrested again or face further penalties. He was directed to pay a $390 fine and surrender his driver’s license.
“Reckless Driving was the top count after the entire indictment was presented to the Grand Jury,” said Livingston County District Attorney Greg McCaffrey. “The case is a horrible tragedy for our community and the Lackeys.”
On Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, Don Lackey and his wife Nancy were driving from their home on Westview Crescent to St. Mary’s Church, which is within sight of their street. At 7:50 a.m., a vehicle driven by Bellonte rear-ended them, pushing their vehicle into a ditch and killing Don Lackey.
Don Lackey, 74, was pronounced dead at the scene.
It was the Lackeys’ wedding anniversary. The accident shocked Village residents and members of the College community.
Witnesses said that Bellonte took off on foot from the accident scene with only a shirt and boxer shorts on. Geneseo Police Chief Eric Osganian said that Geneseo Police Officer Daniel Piedmonte and Livingston County Sheriff’s Deputy Martin Herkimer caught him in a foot chase near North Street. Reporters saw him alternately fight with and speak cooperatively with police after he was handcuffed.
When the Deputy Sheriff approached him, Bellonte punched him in the face.
Charges from the Sheriff’s Office were felony Assault in the Second Degree, misdemeanor Obstructing Governmental Administration in the Second Degree, and Harassment in the Second Degree, a violation.
In January 2018, McCaffrey commended the investigation by Geneseo Police, the Livingston County Sheriff’s Office and the Monroe County Crime Lab. He said that the decision of the Grand Jury is that the evidence presented did not justify a felony charge.
“Geneseo Police and the Sheriff’s Office did a thorough job investigating,” said McCaffrey. “But the proof’s not there. Bellonte had toxicology done at the Monroe County Crime Lab, and without talking too much about what came out of Grand Jury, which is now sealed, there were substantial issues with the case at play here. Speed alone is not enough to charge Criminally Negligent Homicide.”