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2 wedding guests arrested at Verdi’s in Westbury, cops say

Lawrence E. Stevens, left, 32, of Shelburne, Vermont,

Lawrence E. Stevens, left, 32, of Shelburne, Vermont, and Danny Costello, 28, of Hollywood, Fla., were wedding guests at Verdi's catering hall in Westbury arrested Thursday, May 26, 2016, in separate incidents, Nassau County police said. Charges against Stevens include robbery and assault, while Costello was charged with felony aggravated driving while intoxicated under Leandra's Law and other crimes. Credit: NCPD

Two guests at a Wednesday night wedding in Westbury were arrested minutes apart — one after he punched another guest in the face on the dance floor and took his ring, the other after he drove drunk with a 5-year-old girl in the back seat, police said.

The incidents occurred early Thursday at the tail-end of a wedding at Verdi’s catering hall on Old Country Road, Nassau County police said.

After what police described as a dance floor fight, Lawrence E. Stevens, 32, of Shelburne, Vermont, was arrested and charged with second-degree robbery, third-degree assault and fourth-degree criminal possession of a weapon — the latter charge after police said they found him in possession of “plastic knuckles” used in the assault.

Officers responding to the fight also spotted Danny Costello, 28, of Hollywood, Florida, leaving the wedding, driving erratically, police said.

Costello was arrested and charged with felony aggravated driving while intoxicated under Leandra’s Law, driving while intoxicated, driving while alcohol impaired, endangering the welfare of a child and multiple vehicle and traffic law violations.

Police described attendees at the wedding as “transient people” and said the guests were “uncooperative” in sorting out details of the alleged assault. The arrest was made at 1:46 a.m. Thursday.

Police said that at some point during the wedding, Stevens “became involved in a physical altercation” with the 35-year-old male victim, also a guest at the wedding. Stevens “punched the victim” in the right side of the face, knocking him down, then “continued to punch the victim multiple times to the head” — causing what police described as “bruising and swelling.”

While the victim was still down on the ground, police said Stevens “forcefully removed” a “gold colored ring” the victim was wearing. Someone then called police.

The victim refused medical attention, police said.

Minutes after police arrived at the scene to reports of the fight, a responding officer said they saw Costello leaving the hall parking lot at about 1:52 a.m.and pull out onto Old Country Road without yielding to oncoming traffic, police said.

Costello failed to stay in his lane as he drove east, police said, and the officer pulled him over. The officer determined Costello had been driving while intoxicated and placed him under arrest. A 5-year-old girl in the back seat and a 26-year-old female passenger were not injured.

Leandra’s Law, passed in 2009, allows officials to charge drivers who are intoxicated or impaired by drugs with a child 16 or younger in the vehicle with a felony.

Stevens was scheduled to be arraigned Thursday in First District Court in Hempstead.

Costello was arraigned Thursday in First District Court, where a judge set bail at $10,000 cash and bond. Costello did not appear to post bail, according to online court records. It was not clear whether he had an attorney.

With Nicole Fuller

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