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Long IslandSuffolk

Cops: Teen was DWI in fatal Commack crash

James Murphy, 19, of Huntington, is led out

James Murphy, 19, of Huntington, is led out of the Second Precinct in Huntington to go to Suffolk County First District Court in Central Islip on Jan. 1, 2014, where he faces arraignment on a charge of driving while ability impaired by drugs, police said. Photo Credit: James Carbone

A teenager was driving drunk in Commack Tuesday when he crashed into two cars and killed one of the drivers, Suffolk police said.

James Murphy, 19, of Huntington, was going north on Commack Road about 3:25 p.m. when his Chevrolet Blazer sideswiped a northbound Mercedes just before New Highway, said Det. Sgt. James Madden of the vehicular crimes unit. The Mercedes driver was not injured, he said.

Then at the intersection, Murphy broadsided a Hyundai sedan that Herta Palma, 63, was driving westbound on New Highway, police said.

Palma, of Commack, was taken to Huntington Hospital, where she was pronounced dead just after 4 p.m., the sergeant said.

Murphy and his passenger were treated for minor injuries at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown and released, police said.

Detectives remained at the scene at 9 p.m. to gather evidence and determine what happened, including the vehicles' speed.

Madden said the intersection, where New Highway turns into Hauppauge Road, has a red-light camera, so detectives want to see whether someone had gone against the light.

Police think Palma was just crossing the intersection and continuing west when she was struck.

Murphy was charged with driving while intoxicated and held overnight for arraignment Wednesday at First District Court in Central Islip.

Detectives said anyone with information could call the vehicular crimes unit at 631-852-6555.

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