A Lindenhurst woman was sentenced Tuesday to a year in jail and 5 years' probation for driving while impaired by drugs and hitting three teens walking in Deer Park.
Cathleen T. Wild, 30, had pleaded guilty in December to the eight-count indictment against her, including vehicular assault, assault, driving under the influence of drugs, possession of a hypodermic instrument and aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.
On Aug. 7, 2011, she was on her way home from a tanning salon when she struck three 16 year-olds who were walking on the side of Grand Boulevard during a late night scavenger hunt. The teens suffered serious but nonlife-threatening injuries.
In her victim's statement at sentencing, Gabrielle Ferraro said she had injuries all along her right side, from shoulder to hip, and eventually had to get arthroscopic surgery on her knee, ending up with a knee brace.
"By the time school arrived and summer was over, I was still not ready to be able to walk through a full day of school," she wrote. "So for the first month of my junior year in high school, I was home schooled."
But she thanked the driver who hit her because the experience has made her strong, saying she will be attending college this spring "with my beautiful knee brace that holds my story."
"I hope you have learned from this experience, like me," Ferraro wrote, "and prove to me and everyone here that you are sorry and you will change and help all of us prevent situations like these. And also, I personally thank you. They say everything happens for a reason, and this event . . . pushed me to become the best that I can be."
Ferraro said she still has pain and trouble walking, and wishes Wild had gotten a longer sentence. The other victims, Paulino Harrington and Thomas Pirrone, also spoke at the sentencing.
Prosecutors had asked that Wild to be sentenced to more than a year, and to be sent to state prison. Instead, she will serve local jail time and be tested for drugs and alcohol during her probation, the Suffolk district attorney's office said. Under the deal, if she violates probation, she will get 2 to 6 years in prison, the office said.
Wild told police she had smoked marijuana in the morning with a relative, according to court papers, and officers noted she mumbled and her speech was slurred.
When officers arrived, she told them that the teens "jumped into the road" and pointed to her GMC vehicle, saying "I hit them. See this dent in the front -- is from a guy who bounced off the car," court papers 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.