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Woman charged in wrong-way DWI crash

Natalie Leontiev, 38, of Holtsville, is led out

Natalie Leontiev, 38, of Holtsville, is led out of the Fifth Precinct in Central Islip for arraignment in Central Islip Criminal Court. Leontiev, of 21 First Ave. in Holtsville, was charged with driving while intoxicated, second-degree reckless endangerment and leaving the scene of a motor vehicle crash. (March 30, 2013) Credit: James Carbone

An alleged drunken driver -- caught stumbling from the damaged Honda in which she'd fled a wrong-way, head-on crash in Patchogue -- blamed the victim for the collision, according to Suffolk police.

"She crashed into me. She was on my side of the street. It was her fault," Natalie Leontiev, 38, of Holtsville, told police after the Friday night crash, court records say.

Leontiev -- who told police she's a doctor -- has a revoked driver's license and a lengthy rap sheet for driving under the influence, records show.

Saturday, Leontiev was jailed on $120,000 bond or $40,000 cash bail. She was arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on a felony charge of aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. She is also charged with reckless endangerment and driving while intoxicated, both misdemeanors, and leaving the scene of an accident, a violation.

There were no injuries in the crash, police said.

Leontiev's court-appointed attorney, Jeremy Mis, denied the charges on his client's behalf and said Leontiev lives with her parents, and has a child who lives in Freeport.

On Friday night, authorities said, Leontiev drove her 2010 Honda CR-V the wrong way -- westbound on the eastbound Sunrise Highway service road, near Phyllis Drive -- for more than a mile.

Several motorists had to swerve to avoid the Honda and called 911, prosecutor Maria Troulakis said in court. At about 8:25 p.m., Leontiev allegedly struck a 2002 Toyota 4Runner driven by Armida Zelata, 39, of Patchogue.

Zelata, an assembly-line worker, was on a shopping trip with her sister when the crash happened, said Zelata's husband, David, 40.

"To leave the scene like that and to be drunk -- that's just too much," he said in Spanish. The Toyota sustained only minor bumper damage.

Police immediately headed to Leontiev's home, using the Honda's license plate number provided by a witness to obtain the address. An officer spotted the CR-V with "extensive front-end damage" still running in the garage, and saw the driver climb out and "attempt to flee" into the house, according to the officer's deposition.

The officer said he stopped her and noticed that she was stumbling, had bloodshot, glassy eyes, slurred speech and smelled of alcohol. Police said she refused all alcohol tests.

Leontiev told police that she practices medicine at Brookhaven Family Medicine in Patchogue and makes $8,000 a month, police said.

Although a woman with her name has an inactive license for "graduate osteopathic trainee" in Pennsylvania, Newsday could locate no medical license under Leontiev's name in New York. A message left with the Brookhaven practice wasn't returned.

Leontiev has two pending drunken driving cases, in Suffolk and Nassau, and a 2006 impaired-driving conviction in Queens, Troulakis said in court. Records also list a 2011 driving under the influence conviction in Connecticut.

With Aisha Al-Muslim,

Kevin Deutsch

and Candice Ferrette


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