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Cops: Driver on drugs kills Centereach man

Debra Pendzick, 37, was charged with DWAI after

Debra Pendzick, 37, was charged with DWAI after hitting the car of Imran Rehman, 20, who was fatally injured. The photo of Rehman was taken a few years ago at a family function. Credit: 2012

A 20-year-old college student was killed in Centereach Monday when his car was hit by an unlicensed driver who was charged with driving while her ability was impaired, Suffolk police said Tuesday.

Imran Rehman of Centereach, a Suffolk County Community College student, was given CPR while he was being taken by the Centereach Fire Department Rescue ambulance to Stony Brook University Medical Center, but was pronounced dead shortly after he arrived, police said.

Debra Pendzick, 37, of Center Moriches, was also taken to the hospital, where she was treated for chest pain -- and then arrested.

Court papers indicate that when police interviewed Pendzick after the accident, "She had significant slurring of her speech and enlarged pupils" and stated that she takes medication prescribed by her psychiatrist.

Det. Sgt. James Madden said, "She takes prescription medication, but if you are impaired from it, you can't be driving."

District Attorney Thomas Spota's communications director, Robert Clifford, said authorities are awaiting the blood toxicological results from the county's crime lab.

Pendzick was arraigned Tuesday in First District Court, Central Islip, and ordered held on $250,000 bond or $125,000 cash bail, pending her next court appearance June 5.

Rehman's father said his son had just left his home to go to the store. He said he told his mother, " 'Mom, I want a can of Pepsi. Can I borrow a dollar from you?' He went across the street to get a can of Pepsi and they hit him." That was the last time anyone in the family spoke with him, he said.

Police said Pendzick was driving her 2007 Audi eastbound on Route 25 at 8:50 p.m. when she crashed into the 1999 Honda driven by Rehman. Rehman was turning onto Route 25 from Smith Lane when the crash occurred, police said. Pendzick told authorities that he pulled out in front of her, police said.

Madden said Pendzick's driver's license was suspended in March.

She has a case pending in District Court on a charge that she left the scene of an accident Jan. 5 in Centereach, in which one person suffered minor injuries, Madden said.

Police ask anyone with information regarding the crash to call Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS. All calls will remain confidential, police said.


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