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Amityville woman arraigned on charges of driving drunk with 3 kids in car

Benigna Pinedamata, 29, of Amityville, was arrested Thursday,

Benigna Pinedamata, 29, of Amityville, was arrested Thursday, March 12, 2015, on several charges including aggravated driving while intoxicated with a child 15 years or younger, also known as Leandra's Law, after she drove drunk with her three children after picking one of them up from school in North Amityville, Suffolk County police said. Credit: SCPD

An Amityville woman charged with driving drunk with her three kids in the car pleaded not guilty Wednesday to an upgraded 16-count indictment in Suffolk County Court in Riverhead, District Attorney Thomas Spota's office said.

Benigna Pinedamata, 29, was stopped by a security guard on March 12 in front of a North Amityville elementary school after the guard watched Pinedamata drive onto a sidewalk and narrowly miss hitting a school bus while on her way to pick up her 5-year-old from kindergarten, Spota's office said in a news release. The guard said he smelled alcohol on Pinedamata's breath and called police.

Pinedamata also had her 1-month-old and 3-year-old sons in the SUV at the time, police said, and the children were turned over to their father. Pinedamata did not have a valid license and was on probation for a 2013 drunken driving conviction at the time of the arrest, prosecutors said.

"The defendant told police she had a shot and a beer just before picking up her son from school," Spota said in the release. Prosecutors said the crime lab analysis of her blood showed she had a blood alcohol level of .17 percent, more than twice the legal limit.

Pinedamata is charged in the indictment with six violations of Leandra's Law, driving while intoxicated as a felony, endangering the welfare of a child, circumvention of an interlock device and driving without a valid driver's license. She is being held in lieu of $30,000 cash bail or $90,000 bond, prosecutors said.

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