As part of Nassau County Executive Thomas Suozzi's "Wall
of Shame" program, Andrea Sangermano's name and photo were published on the
county's Web site and elsewhere after her arrest on drunken-driving charges
over Memorial Day weekend.
But the Bellerose woman was not drunk or high when she was arrested, Nassau
prosecutors asserted yesterday, and a county judge dismissed Sangermano's
Her erratic driving was the result of complications from diabetes,
In a statement, Suozzi spokeswoman Jennifer Kim said, "We hope that this
... will restore her good name. This is the first time this has happened and we
are terribly sorry to Ms. Sangermano."
Sangermano declined to comment yesterday. Her attorney, Elizabeth Kase of
Garden City, did not return calls.
Prosecutors with the office of Nassau District Attorney Kathleen Rice
recommended yesterday that the county and Newsday remove Sangermano's photo
from their Web sites. Both did so. Nassau's Wall of Shame photos appear on
Newsday's Web site.
Sangermano, 50, was pulled over in Hempstead on May 23 at 9:12 p.m. after
driving erratically on Franklin Street in Hempstead - crossing double yellow
lines, driving onto a sidewalk, veering into oncoming traffic and hitting two
When a Hempstead Village police officer pulled her over, she was "unable to
get out of her car without assistance and was unable to stand on her own,"
according to police records.
Sangermano was arrested and given a breath test, in which she registered a
blood-alcohol level of .00 percent. She also consented to a urine drug test.
While being processed that night, Sangermano "stated she was a diabetic, and
last took her insulin at 5:30 p.m.," records show.
Before the results of her urine tests came back, county officials released
Sangermano's mug shot and personal information along with those of 80 other
people charged with driving while intoxicated over Memorial Day weekend. Suozzi
said the goal was to use the humiliation of the defendants to deter other
Rice spokesman Eric Phillips said Sangermano's urine tests recently came
back negative for drugs. Prosecutors spoke with Sangermano's doctor, who
confirmed that she likely suffered from "hypoglycemia unawareness" at the time
of her arrest, "which is a numbness to the initial signs and symptoms that your
sugars are dropping," Phillips said. Sangermano's doctor told prosecutors that
the episode could have caused behavioral change, confusion, loss of
consciousness and seizure.
Albany defense attorney Peter Gerstenzang, author of "Handling the DWI Case
in New York," said Sangermano's case highlighted the unfairness of the "Wall
of Shame," which he said punishes defendants who are presumed innocent.
"You will never give back this woman her reputation," Gerstenzang said.
"You will never compensate her for her humiliation."
County officials, who have published the photos and information of nearly
900 DWI defendants since May, said they will remove from their Web site any
defendant who is acquitted or has his or her case dismissed.