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Driving instructor accused of drunken driving pleads not guilty

Russell Cohen is charged with aggravated DWI and

Russell Cohen is charged with aggravated DWI and three counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Credit: SCPD

A Ridge driving teacher pleaded not guilty Friday to charges that he was driving drunk with students when he wove, struck curbs and — after the students exited the car — rear-ended another car.

Russell Cohen, 58, who was charged with aggravated DWI and endangering the welfare of a child, was arraigned Friday in First District Court in Central Islip. Bail was set at $4,000 cash or $8,000 bond.

Cohen was a substitute instructor for Suffolk Auto Driving School when police said he took the wheel with four driver education students in the car on Oct. 6.

Police said that after Cohen drove erratically, the students asked him to stop at a McDonald's in Centereach. From there, they called 911, police said.

Police later caught up to Cohen while on Route 25 and Montauk Trail in Ridge. That’s where Cohen rear-ended his 2012 Honda Accord into a 2008 Honda Civic about 11:45 a.m., police said.

The Civic was being driven by a 29-year-old woman from Shoreham. The woman suffered injuries that were not considered life threatening. She was treated at the Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead, police said.

Cohen was not hurt, police said. 

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