DWI charges to be dropped for woman in house crash

The driver of a Mercedes-Benz convertible crashed through The driver of a Mercedes-Benz convertible crashed through the front of a house on Southdown Road in Huntington, according to police. (May 28, 2012) Photo Credit: Steve Silverman

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Drunken driving charges against the Brooklyn woman accused of plowing a Mercedes-Benz convertible through a Huntington house will be dropped because Suffolk prosecutors have concluded she was not the driver.

Robert Clifford, spokesman for the Suffolk district attorney's office, said the actual driver has been arrested and will be arraigned on an indictment this morning. Because the indictment has not been unsealed yet, Clifford could not name the driver or say what charges he faces.

But the attorney for Sophia Anderson, the 21-year-old woman charged with the Memorial Day crash, said her then-boyfriend, Daniel Sajewski, 23, was the driver of his parents' car.

Attorney John LoTurco said he expected Sajewski to be charged with obstruction of government, filing a false statement and possibly driving while intoxicated. "I had suspicions about who was actually driving" from the start, LoTurco said.

The suspected driver was arrested Tuesday and in jail last night. It was unclear who his attorney is.

A woman who answered the phone at the Sajewski home Tuesday night sighed and said: "There's a lot of murder and chaos in the Middle East, and horrible pedophiles across the country. Maybe you could report on that."

Anderson was arrested after police said the car ran through a stop sign and into a home on Southdown Road, narrowly missing the sisters who lived there, Helen Indiere, 96, and Virginia Bennert, 94. A breath test found Anderson's blood-alcohol content was .30 percent, almost four times the legal limit of .08 percent, police said.

Police said at the time of the crash that Sajewski was Anderson's passenger.

In the wreckage, LoTurco said Sajewski pressured Anderson to take responsibility for the crash because he was already on probation for a prior drug charge. He was later jailed briefly on that charge for failing to complete community service.

"Babe, you have to do this for me," Sajewski said, according to LoTurco. "You know how much trouble I can be in."

LoTurco said Sajewski promised to post her bail, pay for her lawyer and take her on a vacation -- none of which happened.

"She was very vulnerable," LoTurco said. "She was in love with him . . . He completely used trickery, false love. He never did accept responsibility."

LoTurco said Anderson admitted she wasn't the driver when her family visited her while she was still in jail and she told him the story when he saw her the next day.

Besides Anderson's statements, LoTurco said, there is plenty of evidence pointing to Sajewski as the driver. He said people at Sajewski's Lloyd Harbor home saw him driving when they left, and that Anderson was too drunk to even consider driving.

Staff at Huntington Hospital felt her injuries were inconsistent with her being the driver, as did an orthopedist who examined her after she posted bail, LoTurco said.

Anderson is not in the clear, however. Although the DWI charge has been dropped, she has been indicted, too, Clifford and LoTurco said. LoTurco said he expects her to face an obstruction charge when she is arraigned Thursday.

He said his client will continue to cooperate with prosecutors and will testify against Sajewski if necessary.

This story has been changed to correct the day that Sophia Anderson will be arraigned.

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