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Garden City woman indicted on multiple charges after driving drunk with daughter, colliding with oncoming car, prosecutors say

A Garden City woman was arraigned Wednesday on grand jury charges of driving while intoxicated with her young daughter in the car, and colliding with an oncoming vehicle, the Nassau County district attorney's office announced Wednesday.

Laura Catell, 43, was traveling eastbound on Sixth Street in Garden City on April 25 at 1:30 p.m. when she collided with another vehicle near the intersection with Cathedral Avenue, the district attorney's office said. Catell was driving at the time with her 7-year-old daughter in the car, the office said. Catell was arrested by the Garden City Police Department at the scene.

"This defendant recklessly operated a car while she was intoxicated, endangering her life, her daughter's life and everyone else on the road that day," acting District Attorney Madeline Singas said in a news release. "She drove into oncoming traffic in the middle of the day and crashed into an innocent driver with her 11-year old twin grandchildren in the car. The other driver was injured but thankfully fate spared all of the children. It is just luck this wasn't much worse."

Catell was arraigned Wednesday on an eight-count grand jury indictment that included: operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a child, also known as Leandra's Law; aggravated driving while intoxicated; two counts of operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol; endangering the welfare of a child; third-degree assault; second-degree reckless endangerment; and reckless driving.

Leandra's Law, named after 11-year-old Leandra Rosado, who died in an October 2009 crash, was enacted to strengthen penalties against drivers who operate vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs with a child in the vehicle.

Acting Supreme Court Justice Patricia Harrington released Catell on her own recognizance and ordered the defendant back to court on Sept. 16, officials said. If convicted of the top charge, Catell faces a maximum sentence 11/3 years to 4 years in prison.

Catell's attorney, Marc Gann of Mineola, did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment. A woman who answered the phone at Catell's home and identified herself as Catell's mother said Catell was not home. The mother declined to comment.

Assistant District Attorney Katie Zizza of the district attorney's Vehicular Crimes Bureau is prosecuting the case.


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