Cops: 3 teens hit by driver on drugs

Three 16-year-olds were injured, one seriously, when a sport utility vehicle driven by a woman who was high on drugs hit them Sunday as they walked along Grand Boulevard in Deer Park, Suffolk County police said. Videojournalist: Paul Mazza and Network News (Aug. 8, 2011)

advertisement | advertise on newsday

The Lindenhurst woman arrested on charges she struck three teenagers on a late-night scavenger hunt in Deer Park was driving with a suspended license and has two pending charges, including possession of a hypodermic needle.

Cathleen T. Wild, 28, was arrested Monday morning after hitting the three 16-year-old friends about 11:45 p.m. Sunday at Grand Boulevard and West 6th Street.

Wild is charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, criminal possession of a hypodermic needle and driving with a suspended license.

Wild told officers she was driving a 1997 GMC Jimmy on her way home from a tanning salon when she struck the teens after they "jumped into the road," court records show.

Police said Wild's speech was slurred and she was unsteady shortly after the accident. She told officers she smoked marijuana with a relative in the morning, police said. After her arrest, police found six empty paper packets containing residue of a powdery substance in her possession and two hypodermic needles in the front of her underwear, according to court documents.

Records show Wild has two charges pending from April 14, when she was accused of criminally possessing a hypodermic instrument and having inadequate lighting from her vehicle. She pleaded not guilty at a June arraignment.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

At her arraignment Monday, Judge Paul Hensley said he was setting bail at $100,000 cash or bond because of the gravity of the charges.

Nicholas Ferraro, father of victim Gabrielle Ferraro, said his daughter and two boys were in the middle of a scavenger hunt and were going to a friend's house when struck.

"They're not into stupid stuff," he said. "My daughter was just doing a scavenger hunt. Next thing you know she was flipped in the air."

Paulino Harrington was airlifted to Stony Brook University Medical Center, where his parents said he was in serious condition.

Maryanne Harrington, 47, Paulino's mother, said her son broke his right arm and left clavicle and lacerated both kidneys. She said he was in a medically induced coma as doctors monitor swelling on his brain, but he was breathing on his own and squeezed her hand.

Paul Harrington, 54, Paulino's father, said his son and many of his friends would often organize group scavenger hunts around the neighborhood for fun. He said 12 to 15 other teens witnessed their three friends get hit, and about 30 friends have visited Paulino in the hospital.

"They're a good, tight group," he said of his son's friends.

Maryanne Harrington said she's shocked that police said the driver was high.

"I can't believe people still do that," she said. "I can't understand why someone would get in a car on drugs."

Police said Ferraro and Thomas Pirrone were both taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip. Both had "nonlife-threatening" injuries.

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Nicholas Ferraro said his daughter was "very bruised," adding, "She's OK. . . . Thank God the kids are all right."

Wild's SUV was impounded, police said.

Police are asking anyone with information regarding the crash call First Squad detectives at 631-854-8152.

With John Valenti and William Murphy

The best of Newsday everyday in your inbox. Get the Newsday Now newsletter!

You also may be interested in: