A mother is accused of drinking and driving with three of her children early Saturday on the Long Island Expressway, where she hit another car and sped away, only to be found by Suffolk police in a parking lot about half an hour later, officers said.
Victoria Villatoro, 44, of Bay Shore, was driving her 2018 Toyota RAV4 east when she lost control and struck an eastbound 2000 Jeep driven by Marilyn Morse, 47, of Bellport.
The collision occurred about 12:50 a.m., between Exits 62 and 63, police said, offering no further information about Morse.
Villatoro drove off, police said, leaving the LIE at Exit 64 in Medford. She then drove north on Route 112 before turning into the parking lot of S & H Building Material Corp. in Medford, where she was arrested about 1:27 a.m., police said.
Two of her daughters — 5 and 7 years old — now are being cared for by their aunt and grandparents; the third is 22.
Villatoro was charged under Leandra’s Law, which imposes stiffer penalties on motorists convicted of, while under the influence of drugs or alcohol, endangering children younger than 16. This state’s law bears the name of 11-year-old Leandra Rosado, who was killed in 2009 in an SUV driven by a friend of her mother’s. Nearly three dozen states have enacted similar laws.
Individuals arrested for the first time under this law are charged with a felony, which could subject them to a 4-year sentence, and force them to install ignition locks designed to prevent vehicles from starting if the driver fails breath tests.
Villatoro also was charged with driving while intoxicated, leaving the scene of an accident, and endangering the welfare of a child. Her Toyota was impounded.
Villatoro was arraigned Saturday in First District Court in Central Islip. She was being represented by the Suffolk County Legal Aid Society of Riverhead and was being held on a $15,000 bond or $7,500 cash bond.
Her next scheduled court appearance is Thursday.