Family members Saturday mourned the death of a Middle Island mother of three, an aspiring nurse on her way to work who police say was hit by a drunken driver.
Monica Peterman's 2009 Mercedes-Benz was struck by a 2013 Audi driven by a Setauket doctor, Suffolk police said.
At the time of the 3:55 a.m. crash Saturday, Peterman, 45, was minutes from St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown, where she was about to start her shift as a dialysis technician, the family said.
Police said Peterman was traveling west on East Main Street at the Route 111 intersection in Smithtown. The Audi, driven by Thomas Stavola, 54, was heading north on Route 111, police said.
The Audi smashed into the driver's side of Peterman's car, police said. She was taken to St. Catherine of Siena, where she later died. Stavola was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital with minor injuries, police said.
Vehicular Crime Unit detectives charged Stavola with driving while intoxicated. He is scheduled to be arraigned Sunday at First District Court in Central Islip.
Stavola was being held overnight at the Third Precinct. A family member at his home said there would be no comment.
Stavola belongs to a physicians group called Stony Brook Community Medical P.C. A call to the group's North Suffolk Cardiology practice, where he's listed as a doctor, was not returned Saturday.
Peterman's son said the family was in shock over the death of a "loving and compassionate" woman.
"My mother, she enjoyed helping people," said Bryan Greaves, 25, of Bay Shore. "Whether it was on the job or outside of the job, she just helped everyone."
Peterman was originally from Manhattan, born to a secretary and Vietnam veteran who worked as a correction officer in New York City. They moved to Central Islip when she was a child, Greaves said.
She worked as a dialysis technician for about two decades and was close to earning a nursing degree at Suffolk County Community College, where she was a part-time student, her son said.
Peterman was deeply religious. Greaves said she took him and his younger brothers to Holy Church of Christ in Central Islip five days a week when he was growing up.
Greaves said the birth of his son 10 months ago was a source of joy for her.
Peterman also is survived by her husband, Russell Peterman, and sons Justin Greaves, 23, of Middle Island, and Jordin Peterman, 13, of Middle Island.
Funeral arrangements were still being made.