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.