Police in New York say that a 23-year-old man was intoxicated when he struck and killed a female friend with his SUV in the early hours of July 26. The man’s scheduled arraignment on drunk driving charges was postponed after he was admitted to the psychiatric ward of Stony Brook Hospital the following day. Authorities say that he could remain in the Long Island medical facility for at least 72 hours.
According to police, the victim had been sitting in the man’s vehicle in a parking lot when she decided to exit the SUV and walk home. She is said to have been concerned about the man’s level of intoxication. The woman proceeded to walk for about half a mile. The man then drove and caught up with her. Police say the man struck the 21-year-old as he pulled over his SUV to speak with her.
The man called 911 at 4:11 a.m. and told authorities that the woman had suffered a serious head injury. Emergency medical services personnel pronounced the woman dead at the scene. Police officers then took the man into custody on suspicion of driving while intoxicated.
Motorists charged with driving drunk in New York may face severe penalties when they are involved in an accident, and this is especially true if the accident results in serious injury or death. A criminal defense attorney may seek to assist those in such a situation by closely scrutinizing the evidence in the case. Police reports and witness statements may be vague or contradictory, and an analysis of the accident report could indicate that another road user was at fault. Evidence used to establish impairment, such as the results of toxicology tests, could also be challenged by a defense attorney.
Source: New 12 Long Island, Arraignment postponed for Lawrence Pagano, accused of fatally striking Krystal Berkowitz in Setauket DWI incident, Staff report, July 27, 2014
Source: WPIX, “Man charged with DWI in crash that leaves friend dead“, Allison Yang, July 26, 2014