Woman charged in hit-run of bicyclist
A panicked driver from Centereach, who police say fled a fatal crash with a bicyclist, was jailed Saturday on $200,000 bond or $100,000 cash bail.
Janice Montalvo, who had twice pleaded guilty to driving without a license, was arrested Friday at her home as she and her husband discussed voluntarily surrendering, he said.
The crash killed Bradford Packer, 51, an out-of-work nurse whose girlfriend, Rosanna De Pinto, said had begun commuting by bike a few months ago, after his 1990 Mustang broke down. She said he had been on a trip to the movies.
His bike helmet was still in the Port Jefferson Station home they shared.
"He didn't wear his helmet that night," De Pinto said. "I told him not to ride a bicycle at night, but he did."
The crash happened at about 9:15 Thursday night at Nesconset Highway and Route 112 when the 2007 Hyundai Sonata Montalvo was driving crashed into his bike and kept going, police said. Charges against Montalvo, 54, include leaving the scene of a fatal accident and driving with an invalid license. She hadn't posted the bail as of Saturday night.
Montalvo and her husband, Hector, had been driving home from dinner at Renzo's Pizza & Restaurant, an Italian eatery on Route 25A. It was dark, Hector said, and when they heard the impact of a collision, they didn't realize a person had been hit.
She told police, court records say: "It was so sudden, I got scared and panicked and kept driving and didn't stop."
After leaving, the couple went to a Stop & Shop in Centereach, according to Hector's statement to police. "We needed to pick up soda," he told a detective.
Thursday into Friday, he said, "She had been up all night," and she awakened her husband when she saw a television news report that the bicyclist had died. "She was just crying and saying, 'Oh, my God, what did I do?' " Hector said.
Later Friday morning, Hector went out to the damaged car to secure the bumper with duct tape; the couple had been discussing the surrender when police showed up.
Inside the prisoners pen Saturday at First District Court in Central Islip, Janice wept while waiting to see a judge, two inmates in lockup with her said.
"I was consoling her," said one of them, Lauren Andreas, 33. "I gave her a hug."
Hector said his wife is deeply remorseful.
"I wish that it hadn't happened. I wish that we had passed there 10 seconds earlier or 10 seconds later," he said. "It's a tragedy for everybody."
"Thank God" the driver who fled has been arrested, said De Pinto's daughter, Teresa Scudero, 41, of Smithtown. "I hope she can live with herself for the rest of her life," De Pinto said.
De Pinto is left only with mementos -- his Mustang, a Picasso replica he'd painted, the helmet -- and memories -- how he loved spooky movies, how he cared for her Alzheimer's-afflicted mother, how he would do perfect Sinatra renditions.
"He has a good voice," she said before correcting herself. "He had a good voice, sorry."
--With Candice Ferrette