Cops: Driver's alcohol level nearly 4 times limit
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The woman who police say was drunk and speeding when she plowed a Mercedes-Benz convertible through a Huntington home had a blood-alcohol content nearly four times the legal limit, Suffolk County prosecutors said Tuesday.
Sophia Anderson, 21, of Brooklyn, pleaded not guilty Tuesday at her arraignment and is being held on $50,000 cash bail or $100,000 bond. In addition to charges of driving while intoxicated and speeding, Anderson did not have valid proof of insurance, prosecutors said.
The Mercedes narrowly missed a 90-year-old woman and her sister inside the home.
Anderson registered a blood-alcohol level of 0.30 percent when police administered a preliminary roadside breath test shortly after the 4:05 a.m. Memorial Day crash, Assistant District Attorney Laura Newcombe said in court. The legal limit is .08 percent.
The results of roadside breath tests -- unlike those administered at police facilities -- are inadmissible in New York State courts.
"I don't know if she was intoxicated," said John LoTurco, Anderson's Huntington-based attorney. "She's extremely upset and very remorseful. She's thankful no one in the home was hurt."
Anderson told police the car's power steering "got stuck, causing her to crash," according to court papers. She also told police she "drank three beers earlier."
Prosecutors are considering whether to upgrade the charges, Newcombe said. Anderson appeared shoeless at her arraignment in First District Court in Central Islip, with an arm bandaged and her face heavily bruised.
She is originally from Deep River, Conn., LoTurco said, and lives with her boyfriend in Brooklyn. He was a passenger in the red 2003 Mercedes, which is owned by his father, who lives in Huntington, LoTurco said.
The two were in Huntington to visit her boyfriend's family when the accident happened, LoTurco said. Jennifer Schnell, 20, of Huntington, said she saw the couple at a Memorial Day party in Huntington Sunday night.
"She [Sophia] was drinking beer, but she looked OK to drive," Schnell said. "Now I wish someone would have stopped her."
Anderson drove through a stop sign and barreled into the white ranch house on Southdown Road near Browns Road, police said.
The Mercedes, its convertible top down, cut a swath of destruction through the home, blasting through walls, tearing through the kitchen and sending furniture and wood flying.
Inside the home were Helen Indiere, 90, and her sister, whose name was not released. Neither was hurt in the crash.Anderson was treated at Huntington Hospital. Police said she refused to consent to a blood test, and because no one was injured in the crash, they were unable to obtain a warrant to take a blood sample.
LoTurco said his client believed she had given her consent.