WILKES-BARRE -- A woman from Luzerne County has pleaded guilty to charges in connection with a deadly hit and run in Wilkes-Barre.
A Luzerne county judge was planning to set a trial date for a woman accused of hitting a man in a wheelchair with her car then taking off. Instead that woman pleaded guilty in connection with the deadly crash and also apologized to the victim's family.
Danielle Castrignano pleaded guilty to three charges Monday, including a felony.
She told us the hit and run that led to the death of Corey Ryan was an accident.
Ryan was trying to cross River Street in his wheelchair. Court documents said Castrignano thought she hit a shopping cart and kept driving.
After deciding not to face a jury and a trial Castrignano of Kingston pleaded guilty to accidents involving death, reckless driving and careless driving.
“It was an accident,” said Castrignano. “I wish it was me and not him.”
Wilkes-Barre police said that in June, 2012, Castrignano hit a man in a wheelchair trying to cross South River street. She never stopped to help.
Corey Ryan, 20, was in that wheelchair, recovering from a crash in 2010 that left him paralyzed from the waist down. He died two weeks later.
Police found Castrignano's car abandoned behind a nightclub. She surrendered the next day. Investigators said she told them she thought she had hit a shopping cart.
Prosecutors said the one-time model featured in the Weekender tabloid had previously been charged with underage drinking in Larksville and she hit a cop when she was arrested for that offense.
Prosecutors said the mandatory minimum sentence for the deadly hit-and-run means Castrignano will likely spend at least one year in a state prison and be ordered to pay hundreds of dollars in fines.