Yonkers cheerleader's death: Drunken driver pleads guilty

Waverly Patrick, 53, of Yonkers, pleaded guilty Jan. Waverly Patrick, 53, of Yonkers, pleaded guilty Jan. 30 to killing a Yonkers cheerleader while he was driving drunk on June 22. Photo Credit: Yonkers Police Department

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A drunken driver who ran down and killed 16-year-old Yonkers cheerleader Keyairra Price admitted Tuesday he struck her on a Yonkers street and fled the scene.

Waverly Patrick, 53, of Hudson Street, pleaded guilty in Westchester County Court to first-degree vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of an accident without reporting it -- both felonies -- and aggravated driving while intoxicated, a misdemeanor.

He faces up to 15 years in prison when he is sentenced.

Price and her friend, Angelique Cogdell, 15, were waiting to cross the street at Valentine Lane on their way to the store at 9:28 p.m. June 22 when a Jeep Cherokee driven by Patrick struck Price.

Patrick's lawyer, Louis Ecker, said Patrick, who worked as a youth counselor at Leake & Watts residential treatment center in Yonkers, felt deep regret for Price's death.

"The man was devastated by what happened to that child," Ecker said. "That's why he pleaded guilty. He knew what he had to do. He's had remorse from day one."

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The impact of the blow threw Price 60 feet onto the sidewalk, prosecutors said.

The Gorton High School student died of her injuries.

Cogdell was unhurt.

Witnesses told police that Patrick continued on without stopping after he struck Price, his vehicle heading west toward Riverdale Avenue.

Police got a description of the vehicle from witnesses and spotted the car a few hours later parked outside Patrick's apartment building. Patrick was arrested and his blood-alcohol level was measured at .18%, more than twice the legal limit of .08%.

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A Gorton High School student, Price played on the school's softball team.

Her mother, O'Meeka Johnson, described her as a multitalented child who played the clarinet and electric guitar and loved to paint. Her mother said she was "a huge Barbra Streisand fan."

Price's relatives said after her death that if Patrick had stopped and dialed 911 after striking the girl, she might have survived.

Price's family could not be reached Wednesday for comment.

Price, who remains held without bail at Westchester County Jail, is scheduled to be sentenced March 27 by Westchester County Court Judge Robert Neary.

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