The 15-year-old driver in last month’s crash that killed three teens on the Meadowbrook State Parkway has admitted in Family Court that she is guilty of manslaughter, and a judge on Wednesday ordered her to live at a supervised home for girls.
Cindy Sanchez, a ninth-grader at Uniondale High School, will live at an unsecured facility in Suffolk County for up to a year, where she will attend classes and get counseling.
“We want you to get these services so you can become a productive member of society,” Judge Ellen R. Greenberg told Sanchez.
If Sanchez does not follow the home's rules, she may have to remain there until she turns 18, the judge warned.
“This is your job for the next 12 months — to work hard on improving yourself,” the judge said.
Greenberg asked Sanchez if she understood her responsibilities. “Yes, ma’am,” Sanchez replied.
The disposition was worked out among the various parties involved in the case, including Julia D’Agostino, Nassau County deputy chief of the Family Court Bureau, and Sanchez’s attorney, James E. Toner of Mineola. On Wednesday, Greenberg approved it, ending the juvenile delinquency case against the teen.
“She wanted it. The mother wanted it, and I believe it is an acceptable end to this horrible tragedy,” Toner said.
Sanchez’s toddler son, who was in the SUV when it crashed, but wasn't injured, will not live with her. The boy, almost 2 years old, will remain in the custody of Sanchez’s mother.
On June 8, Sanchez, of Hempstead, and eight other teens cut class and headed to Jones Beach, according to D’Agostino.
Sanchez was driving at speeds of 60-80 mph on the parkway, D’Agostino said, when she lost control of the 2005 Chevrolet Trailblazer. The SUV overturned several times before coming to rest in a marsh, according to New York State police.
Toner said his client, who doesn't have a driver’s license, lost control of the vehicle because she has little driving experience.
Sanchez's brother, David Sanchez, 13, died in the crash, as did Marlon Carbajal, 15, the son of the SUV's owner, and another teenager, Herbert Leo Aviles-Maravilla, 16, according to police. The three boys were ejected from the SUV.
The remaining passengers, ages 13 to 17 and from Uniondale, suffered nonlife-threatening injuries, according to police.
Sanchez was charged as a juvenile with three counts of second-degree manslaughter and three counts of criminally negligent homicide. She had faced anywhere from probation to 2 years in juvenile detention, Toner said.
In June, Sanchez admitted she was guilty of two counts of second-degree manslaughter and one count of endangering the welfare of a child. Toner said the remaining charges against her were dismissed.
The boy and his grandmother will be allowed to visit Sanchez. The long-term goal, Toner said, is to reunite Sanchez with her baby.
“My client has taken responsibilities for her actions," Toner said. "She is looking forward to getting the therapy that she needs and moving on with her life.”