WOOSTER, Ohio (AP) _ A teen-age motorist who knocked down and killed five Amish children as they walked home from a birthday party pleaded guilty today, saying he wanted to spare everyone the pain of a trial.

Eric Bache, 19, of Millersburg, pleaded guilty to five counts of aggravated vehicular homicide, three counts of aggravated vehicular assault and a misdemeanor count of driving without a license. He had earlier pleaded innocent.

Bache stood calmly before Wayne County Common Pleas Judge Robert Brown, saying he understood the nature of the charges against him. ''I don't want to cause the Amish families any more pain or anyone else any more pain,'' he said.

The children were walking home along a country road after a party at a neighbor's home on May 13. Police said Bache's car went out of control on a steep hill, veered off the road and struck a group of 10 children, killing five of them aged 14, 11, 10, 8 and 2.

The judge ordered a pre-sentencing investigation by the county's Adult Probation Department and scheduled sentencing for Oct. 20. Bache remains in the county jail on $25,000 bond.

Bache could be sentenced to more than 65 years in prison - a maximum of 10 years in prison on each count of aggravated vehicular homicide, five years on each count of aggravated vehicular assault and six months on the charge of driving without a license.

Assistant county Prosecutor Martin Frantz said the prosecutor's office would not make a sentencing recommendation.

None of the 15 spectators in the courtroom were dressed in traditional Amish garb. A woman in the front row of the gallery said she was Bache's mother, but would not give her name or answer any other questions.

''I think emotionally, he's going to have a hard time,'' Bache's court- appointed attorney, Joi Hemphill, said after the hearing.