Woman may have charges dismissed in Huntington house crash
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The former Brooklyn woman who initially told police she was the one who drove drunk through a house in Huntington will have all the remaining charges against her dismissed if she continues to stay out of trouble for the next six months.
Sophia Anderson, 21, initially was charged with driving while intoxicated after the car she was in plowed through a home in Huntington at high speed on Memorial Day. Further investigation, however, showed that her then-boyfriend, Daniel Sajewski, 23, of Brooklyn, was driving and had pressured her to take the rap for him.
He pleaded guilty last month and was sentenced Tuesday to 11/2 to 3 years in prison.
Anderson, who had her drunken driving charge dismissed but faced conspiracy and obstruction of governmental administration charges, said Thursday she was relieved that prosecutors and Suffolk County Court Judge Martin Efman agreed to give her a second chance.
"I've definitely learned a huge lesson -- a few," she said afterward.
Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Nancy Clifford said Anderson fulfilled her obligation to speak truthfully about the crash and to cooperate with the prosecution of Sajewski.
Anderson's attorney, John LoTurco of Huntington, said his client has turned her life around. She has been sober since the crash, when she had a blood-alcohol content of 0.30 percent -- almost four times the legal limit to drive -- and has been in rehabilitation for alcohol abuse, he said. She lives with her parents in Connecticut, attends community college and works as a waitress, he said.
As for any lingering suspicions that she was the driver -- voiced Tuesday by Sajewski's attorney, William Keahon, after the sentencing -- Anderson, LoTurco and Clifford dismissed them. "He's clearly a liar," Anderson said.
After the crash, Anderson and Suffolk prosecutors say, Sajewski convinced Anderson to say she was driving because he wanted to avoid adding to a criminal record that included convictions for drug dealing, theft and violating probation.
Anderson was arrested after the driver of a red Mercedes-Benz convertible owned by Sajewski's parents blew through a stop sign and blasted through a home, narrowly missing the sisters who lived there, Helen Indiere, 96, and Virginia Bennert, 95. They returned to their home just three weeks ago, following repairs, Clifford said.