An Amityville driver is facing murder charges after prosecutors said she hit and dragged a bicyclist last summer in Hicksville, killing the 43-year-old woman, before crashing her vehicle into a house and fatally injuring her passenger.
Elizabeth Stenson, 58, pleaded not guilty Friday in Nassau County Court to second-degree murder, manslaughter and other charges before a judge remanded her to jail.
Authorities have identified the victims as bicyclist Cari Widmyer and Stenson’s passenger Duane Nuccio, 65.
Prosecutors said Widmyer was visiting from California on June 29, 2016 and taking an afternoon bike ride with her father, Dennis Widmyer, when Stenson’s 2002 Ford Explorer hit the two on New South Road as the motorist drove on the wrong side of the street.
Dennis Widmyer, now 73, and his wife Lois, 69, said Friday their daughter was a world traveler, yoga teacher and avid snowboarder who grew up in New York and lived in San Francisco. The Hicksville couple said their daughter had been contemplating taking another job with Google, where she previously worked for several years after earning a Columbia University MBA.
“She lived a beautiful, fulfilled life,” Lois Widmyer said of her daughter, a devout Catholic.
“God will deal with that and the courts will deal with that,” the mother added, when asked about Stenson’s arrest.
Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a statement Friday the bicyclists “were allegedly targeted for no reason by this homicidal driver.”
Police have said the driver crossed the centerline for “unknown reasons,” first striking the father — who suffered a knee injury — and then the daughter. Prosecutors said Friday the sport utility vehicle dragged her several hundred feet.
Authorities said the Explorer then clipped a 2009 Nissan Altima, jumped a curb and slammed into a house, collapsing its front porch.
Police said at the time of the crash that no criminality was involved. Singas spokesman Brendan Brosh said Friday that Stenson’s indictment followed an extensive investigation.
Authorities said Nuccio, whose hometown wasn’t released, suffered a head injury and died several days after the crash.
Stenson’s court-appointed attorney, William Kephart, said Friday that tests showed his client wasn’t intoxicated at the time of the crash.
“We’re talking about a 58-year-old woman that may have had a medical issue that may have contributed to this,” the Garden City lawyer said. “At this point we need to investigate this further to see what the underlying basis is for these accusations.”