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B'klyn man faces Leandra's Law DWI charge

BY ANN GIVENSann.givens@newsday.com

A Brooklyn man has become the first person to be charged in Queens under the newly created Leandra's Law for allegedly driving drunk on New Year's Day with his two daughters in the car.

Johnny Ovalles, 38, of 195 Sunnyside Ave., was arrested on the Grand Central Parkway in Queens and charged with driving drunk with a child in the car, endangering the welfare of a child, speeding and other violations, according to the Queens district attorney's office.

Prosecutors said Ovalles was speeding and weaving in and out of traffic while his wife and daughters, ages 12 and 16, were in the car.

He is one of at least 11 people statewide to be charged under the new law, according to printed reports. If convicted, he could face up to 4 years in prison.

Leandra's Law makes it a felony for anyone to drive while intoxicated or under the influence of drugs with a child under 15 in the car. Previously the offense was a misdemeanor, which could be reduced to a traffic violation. It was named for 11-year-old Leandra Rosado of Manhattan, who was killed in an alleged drunken driving crash in October.

"The defendant is accused of . . . endangering not only himself and others on the road, but even his own family, including his 12-year-old child, who had no choice but to ride with the defendant," said Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.

Prosecutors said Ovalles was driving 80 mph in a 50-mph zone, and making multiple lane changes without signaling. They said a breath test measured his blood-alcohol content .156 percent - above the legal limit of .08 percent.

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