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Lawyer: Driver 'unable to avoid' fatality

Kenneth Serwan, right, is led out of Third

Kenneth Serwan, right, is led out of Third Precinct in Bay Shore Thursday morning on his way to his arraignment. Police said he was intoxicated when he struck a teenager on Sunrise Highway the night before. (Dec. 2, 2010) Credit: James Carbone

An attorney for the alleged drunken driver who police say struck and killed an Amityville woman last week said his client was driving with a green light and "unable to avoid" the woman.

Suffolk County police, however, cannot confirm the assertions made by Kenneth Serwan's attorney because officers have not completed their investigation into how Tynielle Silvera, 18, died, Det. Lt. Robert Edwards said Thursday.

"I wouldn't say they are accurate until we get all our physical evidence and witness statements evaluated," Edwards said.

Meanwhile, Denise Wilson, Silvera's mother, said Serwan, who police said had an odor of alcohol on his breath, was unsteady on his feet and had slurred speech shortly after the accident, should not be trying to shift the blame.

"He [Serwan] should not be having any excuses now," she said. "I need this man to be brought to justice."

Wilson also said her daughter wouldn't have jaywalked across Sunrise Highway, where the accident occurred. "She's too responsible for that," she said.

Silvera, a high school honor student and incoming college student who family members said wanted to be an attorney, had just left a tutoring job on Dec. 1 when she was killed walking home from the train station and across Sunrise in Amityville. She was pronounced dead at the scene.

Serwan's attorney maintains that his client had the right of way. The attorney provided a written statement after Serwan's latest court appearance, on Thursday, in First District Court in Central Islip.

At the hearing, a judge said he would not take any action on Serwan's license because officials were awaiting blood-test results to determine Serwan's alleged level of intoxication.

In the statement, Serwan's attorney says the accident occurred while Serwan was "entering the intersection on a steady green light with the right of way. Unable to avoid Miss Silvera crossing the intersection."

The statement also says the firm representing Serwan, a computer database manager from Lindenhurst, conducted an investigation that "revealed an independent witness observed the defendant driving at a reasonable rate of speed." The attorneys also say that the weather, darkness, "poor lit area" and "design of the roadway" contributed to the crash.

Serwan's attorney said his client is out on bail.

Kevaughn Hammond, 19, Silvera's boyfriend, was shocked at Serwan's release. "He gets to go home to his family while we're crying every day."

Wilson, who was in Jamaica at the time of the accident, said she hopes Serwan is brought to justice.

She plans to fly Silvera's body back to their native home of Jamaica on Dec. 15 and bury her in Kingston on Dec. 22.

"I'm so upset, so hurt," Wilson said Thursday. "I need my child to go peacefully home."

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