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BALDWIN/Cops: Woman killed by taxi crossing Sunrise Hwy.

A woman in Baldwin was killed after she and two others were struck by a taxi as they tried to cross Sunrise Highway, police said Thursday.

Kate McNeil, 20, was pronounced dead at South Nassau Communities Hospital in Oceanside. Her brother Bryan, 25, and a friend, Samantha Koch, 20, were hit as they tried to cross from the north side to the south side of the road at Central Avenue, Nassau police said.

A police spokesman said the driver of the taxi, Allen Sinetar, 55, of Wading River, was not cited in the accident, and that witnesses said he had the green light at the time of the 11 p.m. crash Wednesday in front of the Long Island Rail Road station.

Bryan McNeil was taken to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, where he was listed in serious but stable condition, and Koch, also of Baldwin, was taken to South Nassau, where she was listed in stable condition with head, neck and back injuries.

Relatives declined to comment. Officials at Long Island Yellow Cab, the taxi driver's employer, could not be reached for comment.

- ZACHARY R. DOWDY


HAMPTON BAYS/Man pleads guilty in first conviction under new law

A Hampton Bays man has pleaded guilty to charges he drove drunk with his young son in his car, becoming the first person to be convicted under a new state law that makes it a felony to drive drunk or to be under the influence of drugs with a passenger under the age of 16, according to the Suffolk County district attorney's office.

Prosecutors say Mario Rojano, 18, had more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system when he drove into a snowbank with his 3-year-old son in his car in December.

Rojano was driving without a license, registration, a valid inspection sticker or insurance when his Honda Civic got stuck in snow on Sunrise Highway in Southampton on Dec. 26, prosecutors said.

Rojano smelled of alcohol and there was vomit on his clothing, police said. A breath test showed his blood-alcohol level was .20, police said, and a state trooper had to break a car window to rescue Rojano and his son.

The boy is now in his mother's custody, according to Rojano's Legal Aid lawyer, Susan Ambro of Riverhead.

In front of Judge Martin Efman in Riverhead, Rojano pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of endangering the welfare of a child, felony aggravated driving while intoxicated, and misdemeanor driving while intoxicated.

He is due back in court April 20 for sentencing.

Rojano was the first person in the state to be indicted by a grand jury under the Child Passenger Protection Act known as Leandra's Law, which went into effect Dec. 18. Leandra's Law is named after Leandra Rosado, 11, of Manhattan, who was killed in a crash in October in which her friend's mother was charged with drunken driving.

- SOPHIA CHANG


DEER PARK/Police: Woman injured niece by shaking baby

A Deer Park woman violently shook her 11-month-old niece, causing the baby to suffer internal bleeding, Suffolk police said Thursday.

Around 9 a.m. Wednesday, Paola Baez, 22, of Morris Drive, shook her niece to stop her from crying, police said. When the baby became unresponsive and blood came out of her mouth, Baez and her husband took her to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip where she told hospital staff the child fell out of a swing, police said.

Hospital staff called police because of the baby's suspicious injuries, police said. Baez was watching the baby while her mother was at work, police said.

The baby suffered internal bleeding and is in critical condition, police said. Baez was arraigned on charges of reckless assault of a child Thursday at First District Court in Central Islip. She was released on $1,500 bail and due back in court March 23.

- SOPHIA CHANG

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