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Deer Park man drove while impaired by drugs with 5-year-old in car, police say

A Deer Park man who Nassau police said was driving while impaired on drugs with his 5-year-old daughter in tow in East Meadow last April was arraigned Thursday on an indictment with several felony charges including Leandra's Law, authorities said.

James Calabrese, 38, of Livingston Street answered a 10-count grand jury indictment in Nassau County Court and pleaded not guilty before acting Supreme Court Justice Patricia Harrington, who set bail at $15,000 bond.

He is due back in court on Nov. 18. His attorney could not be reached for comment.

He is charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of drugs, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, with a child; endangering the welfare of a child; second-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance; first-, second- and third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle; and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle.

Prosecutors said that Calabrese was driving erratically on Hempstead Turnpike in East Meadow shortly after 4 a.m. on April 6 when another motorist flagged down a police officer, who pulled Calabrese over and discovered he was with a woman and his daughter.

"Calabrese was observed to have glassy eyes, droopy eyelids and his speech was slurred, slow and low in volume," said acting Nassau District Attorney Madeline Singas' office in a news release. "The defendant told the officer, 'I'm coming from Queens and heading to Deer Park,' but the officer informed him that he was heading in the wrong direction.

The defendant also told the officer, when asked what time it was, that "It's about 11:20 p.m." when the actual time was 4:22 a.m. Inside the vehicle and in plain sight, the officer discovered open and unopened packets of Suboxone."

Suboxone is a prescription medicine designed to treat opioid dependence. Calabrese declined a chemical test at the scene, prosecutors said.

Calabrese faces a maximum prison term of 21/3 to 7 years if convicted on the top charge.

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