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By Douglas Sciorra

Steuben County District Attorney Reports

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Updates on charges from 2022 fatal crash in Wayland

Appeals court rejects plea for Steuben County woman

Michael T. Baldwin Reports,

A failed appeals attempt will keep a 33-year-old Wayland man in custody for a 2020 impaired driving crash that killed his 6-year-old daughter Leah. In 2022, Derek E. Clark pleaded guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide and was sentenced in Steuben County court by Judge Patrick F. McAllister to serve a sentence of 6-12 years. An attorney for Clark filed an appeal saying “that the sentence was unduly harsh and severe.” The Appellate Division, Fourth Judicial Department disagreed. In a brief one-page decision, the court said “Defendant, however, knowingly, voluntarily, and intelligently waived the right to appeal and the valid waiver encompasses his challenge to the severity of the sentence.”

Police said the crash happened on September 14, 2020 on State Route 63 when Clark went off the road, hit a utility pole causing the vehicle to overturn. The young girl was pronounced dead at the scene.

Clark is currently housed at Green Haven and is eligible for parole in December 2027.

A Steuben County woman will remain in state prison after an appeals court rejected her arguments of county court errors. 40-year-old Patricia R. Jordan was convicted of felony attempted first-degree robbery and felony criminal possession of a controlled substance. Steuben judge Philip J. Roche sentenced Jordan to up to five years in state prison. In a two-page ruling, the appellate court said “We reject defendant’s contention that County Court erred in denying her motion to withdraw her guilty plea. “Permission to withdraw a guilty plea rests solely within the court’s discretion and refusal to permit withdrawal does not constitute an abuse of discretion unless there is some evidence of innocence, fraud, or mistake in inducing [a] plea. In support of her motion, defendant submitted an affidavit from a codefendant purporting to absolve her of guilt. We conclude that the court did not abuse its discretion in denying the motion because, among other things, the circumstances rendered the codefendant’s affidavit inherently unreliable.”

Jordan is being held in the Albion Correctional Facility. Her earliest release date in January 23, 2025.

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