Maureen Lambert, 20, of Stony Brook, leaves the Fourth Police...

Maureen Lambert, 20, of Stony Brook, leaves the Fourth Police Precinct in Hauppauge headed to arraignment in Central Islip Criminal Court on charges of leaving scene of accident that killed 11-year-old Courtney Sipes on Main Street near Lawrence Avenue in Smithtown. (Nov. 26, 2009) Credit: James Carbone

A 20-year-old Stony Brook woman surrendered to police Wednesday night and was charged in the hit-and-run crash that killed an 11-year-old girl crossing the street in Smithtown.

Maureen Lambert turned herself in at Suffolk’s Fourth Precinct in Hauppauge at 9:35 p.m.  on Wednesday. She was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident. She was arraigned on Thursday morning and  bail was set at $250,000.

“We reached out to her family, who convinced her to turn herself in,” said Det. Sgt. Richard Matero.

He said police are still investigating but “at this time, there is no DWI or DUI involved,” meaning no charge related to drugs or alcohol.

Lambert was driving a 2002 white Chevy Avalanche when, police say, she struck Courtney Sipes Tuesday and failed to stop.

Matero didn’t comment on how police zeroed in on Lambert. She is to be arraigned Thursday in First District Court in Central Islip. If convicted of the D felony, she faces a maximum of 7 years in prison.

Earlier in the day, the mother of Courtney Sipes told reporters she couldn’t understand how the driver of the vehicle that struck the girl could hesitate to come forward.

“I have no idea how anybody can sleep at night or have such disregard for human life to not want to bring closure to our family,” Courtney Sipes’ mother said Wednesday.

Courtney was crossing East Main Street, just east of Lawrence Avenue  when she was hit by the westbound vehicle at 7:02 p.m. Tuesday, police said.

Courtney was taken to St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown, where she was declared dead.

Michele Rothfeld, principal of Courtney’s school — Pines Elementary on Holly Drive — said, “This is a very difficult day for those of us at Pines Elementary School dealing with this terrible tragedy.

Courtney Sipes was a wonderful fifth-grade student, an 11-year-old child who was active in our student council, who played the trumpet and was very involved in our school.”

Courtney, her brother and mother had been at Cornet Music store several stores down from where the girl was struck, a store employee said.

Courtney was a student there, too, but her lesson for that day had been canceled earlier, the employee said.

Courtney’s father told 1010 WINS Wednesday that the hit-and-run “shouldn’t have happened.”

Her mother told the radio station that her daughter was a “thoughtful, creative child who loved art, loved to write music, loved to sing.”

Her daughter “didn’t get to live her full potential and was definitely taken too soon.” 

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