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A Louisville man charged with murder and driving under the influence as the result of a 2012 accident has pleaded guilty to a lesser charge just days before he was set to go to trial.
Nicholas W. “Nick” Snoddy pleaded guilty to manslaughter, 2nd degree, in lieu of a murder charge late Friday afternoon. He was set to go to trial on Monday, but he accepted a plea agreement from Commonwealth Attorney Courtney Baxter instead.
At the hearing, Snoddy also pleaded guilty to two counts of fleeing police, four counts of wanton endangerment, one count of driving on a suspended license, one count of DUI and one count of speeding.
Under the plea deal, the recommended sentence for Snoddy is 25 years in jail, 10 years with his license suspended. He will first be eligible for parole after 20 percent of his sentence is complete, which would be five years.
Baxter defended the plea agreement during the court hearing, saying it was offered after consultation with the family of the victim, Westport resident Charley Klosterman.
“I feel like this is fair and doesn’t diminish the severity of the crimes,” Baxter told Circuit Court Judge Karen Conrad.
According to court documents, an Oldham County police officer witnessed Snoddy speeding on June 13, 2012. The officer attempted to stop him on U.S. 42 near La Grange. Snoddy fled to Ky. 53 and the officer lost sight of his vehicle.
The officer called for additional law enforcement to locate Snoddy, who reached speeds of more than 100 mph as he passed vehicles on Ky. 53, according to the documents.
Snoddy crashed head-on into a motorcycle driven by Klosterman near Old Sligo Road. The impact of the crash tossed Klosterman from his bike. He was wearing a helmet and landed in the grass.
Some police officers who had been chasing Snoddy stopped to aid Klosterman, as did several other drivers and a woman who lived nearby. But Snoddy continued to flee.
Emergency crews took Klosterman to University Hospital in Louisville, where he spent several weeks fighting for his life. He suffered a multitude of severe injuries, and doctors amputated a portion of his leg shortly after the crash.
Klosterman died nine weeks after the accident. He was 65.
At the hearing to enter his guilty plea, Snoddy admitted he was drunk during the accident.
“I consumed too much alcohol that day, I didn’t have my license on me,” Snoddy told Conrad. “I was driving back from work, I saw the police officer and I panicked. I turned around and subsequently hit Mr. Klosterman… and it led to his death.”
Snoddy will be formally sentenced on March 14 at 9 a.m. Conrad informed Snoddy he will likely be taken into custody then.
After the hearing, Baxter declined to comment further, saying her office’s policy isn’t to comment on open cases, which is the situation until Snoddy is formally sentenced.
After the hearing Snoddy’s attorney, Steve Romines, said his client took the plea deal because it was the best offered so far, since all other plea agreements kept a murder charge attached to them.
“That was a major factor,” Romines said of reducing the charge to manslaughter. “It’s a tragic situation and he made a lot of mistakes. He didn’t intend for someone to die.
It’s tragic for everybody.”
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