ALBANY – Michael Carr, the teenager driving the vehicle that crashed into Blessings Tavern critically injuring his passenger, 16-year-old Niko DiNovo, pleaded not guilty to a host of charges in Albany County Court on Thursday, April 13.
A grand jury indicted Carr on seven felonies of assault, aggravated vehicular assault, vehicular assault and two misdemeanors, driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol and reckless driving for the fiery crash.
Before the sealed indictment was opened in front of Albany County Court Judge William Carter, Carr was charged with vehicular assault and DWI and released to the supervision of probation without having to post bail.
Given the more serious charges, Vehicular Crimes Unit Bureau Chief Mary Tanner-Richter wanted bail set at $75,000, but Carter kept conditions the same and Carr remains free as the case works its way through the court system. There are no new court appearances at this time.
On Oct. 28, 2016 Carr smashed his 2006 BMW into a parked vehicle and pushed it into the back wall Blessings located at the intersection
of Consaul and Watervliet Shaker roads.
DiNovo suffered third degree burns over 95 percent of his body. Carr, an employee at Blessings and a bar patron were rushed to Albany Medical Center Hospital. The tavern was gutted by fire and has since been demolished.
Meanwhile, DiNovo is still at the Westchester Burn Unit and remains in “very critical condition,” said his aunt, Davina Resciniti.
He had a setback on Saturday, she said, and went into congestive heart failure. Fluids started to build up in his body and it was effecting his kidneys and his lungs. A chest tube was inserted to remove some of the fluids and he was put on diuretic and dialysis and is responding to the treatment.
He has had numerous surgeries and needs many more but at this point in time he is too weak to continue, she said. He was responsive to his mother and his brother on Wednesday, April 12, for the first time since the setback on Saturday, she said.
“My sister has yet to leave his side, and this past week we have all been down here rallying around Niko,” she said.
Resciniti said the family is aware of what transpired in court but right now it’s not their focus.
“It is absolutely secondary,” she said. “One way or another it doesn’t make a difference to us. It’s not going to help us or hurt us and it certainly won’t help or hurt Niko. We are just focusing all our positive energy down here with Niko.”