A Hampton Bays man who prosecutors say had more than twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system when he drove into a snowbank with his young son in his car has been indicted on three counts of felony drunken driving, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Mario Rojano, 18, is the first person in the state to be indicted under a new law that aims to crack down on drunken drivers with children in their vehicles, Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota said before Rojano's arraignment in County Court in Riverhead. The Child Passenger Protection Act, also called Leandra's Law, went into effect Dec. 18 and makes it a felony to drive drunk or under the influence of drugs with a passenger under age 16.
Others in the state have been charged under the law, but this is the first case in which a grand jury has voted an indictment.
Rojano, through his Legal Aid attorney, Susan Ambro of Riverhead, pleaded not guilty to a 12-count indictment, including three counts each of felony and misdemeanor driving while intoxicated. Judge Martin Efman ordered him held on $20,000 cash bail.
Rojano, a busboy, also was charged with endangering the welfare of a child. The boy, 3, is in the custody of his mother, Ambro said in court.
Prosecutors said Rojano was driving without a license, registration, a valid inspection sticker or insurance when his Honda Civic got stuck in snow on Sunrise Highway in Southampton on Dec. 26. Rojano smelled of alcohol and there was vomit on his clothing, police said. A breath test showed his blood-alcohol level was .20, police said.
A state trooper broke a car window to remove Rojano and his son from the vehicle. They were not injured, police said.