Rachel Lodice, 21, from Jericho, on Wednesday pleaded not guilty to multiple charges after allegedly causing a fatal crash in Massapequa and driving off in a public safety vehicle that had stopped to help the victims, police said. NewsdayTV's Shari Einhorn reports.  Credit: Newsday/Howard Schnapp; James Staubitser; Photo Credit: Monique Powell; NCPD

A Jericho woman charged for allegedly causing a fatal crash in Massapequa before stealing a public safety vehicle and fleeing the scene told investigators she had been drinking beforehand, according to court records and the police.

Nassau District Court Judge Veronica Irwin set cash bail Wednesday at $250,000 for Rachel Lodice, 21.

Lodice had been driving south on Hicksville Road at 6:45 p.m. Tuesday in a gray 2023 Kia Rio with Georgia plates when she struck a 2022 Nissan Altima as it headed east on Sunrise Highway, Nassau County police said in a news release.

The Nissan's driver, Cynthia Mitchell, 64, of Freeport, was taken to Nassau University Medical Center, where medical staff pronounced her dead, police said. Mitchell's passenger, a 46-year-old female, was treated at the medical center for nonlife-threatening injuries.

Lodice was in police custody Wednesday for her arraignment, where she faced charges of second-degree vehicular manslaughter, leaving the scene of an incident, driving while intoxicated and third-degree grand larceny, police said. Lodice entered a not-guilty plea through her Legal Aid attorney, and Irwin also set a $500,000 bond, court records show. Lodice's license also was suspended.

After the crash, according to court records, Town of Oyster Bay Public Safety Sgt. John Graham arrived to assist in rescue efforts. Lodice, who later told police she had been drinking before the crash, ran up to Graham's Chevy Equinox patrol vehicle as he sat inside and told him that her side hurt and she was thirsty, the court records show. He handed Lodice a bottle of red Gatorade and “told her to stay here,” records show. Graham then got out of his vehicle to render help to the women in the Nissan.

“There goes your car,” someone yelled out, according to his statement contained in the court records.

“I looked and saw my vehicle traveling east on Sunrise Highway,” Graham said.

He then radioed to dispatch that his vehicle had been stolen. The Department of Public Safety immediately began tracking the vehicle and sending its location to police, a spokesperson said Wednesday.

About 20 minutes later, according to court documents, officers located the vehicle, and Lodice, wearing Graham's department-issued jacket, near a home on Neptune Avenue in Seaford, close to 2 miles from the crash.

Police said she had slurred speech and bloodshot eyes, according to the court records.

Lodice also took a blood-alcohol test, police said. The test results had not been released as of late Wednesday.

While in custody in the back seat of a police vehicle, according to court records, Lodice told officers: “I'm not supposed to drink with my medicine.”

With Shari Einhorn

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