Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced the sentencing today of a New Cassel woman for driving under the influence of drugs and colliding into a work van driven by a 45-year-old Hempstead man who was seriously injured in the crash.
Ethel Mae Edwards was sentenced by Nassau County Court Judge David Sullivan to 10 years in prison. Edwards pleaded guilty in October to Assault in the 1st Degree (a B felony), Vehicular Assault in the 2nd Degree (an E felony), Operating a Motor Vehicle Under the Influence of Drugs (an unclassified misdemeanor), and Reckless Driving (an unclassified misdemeanor).
Edwards also pleaded guilty in October to Criminal Possession of a Controlled Substance in the 5th Degree in an unrelated drug case.
“The outrageous driving of this defendant on a weekday morning permanently injured Jose Pineda and risked the lives of every other innocent person on that road,” DA Rice said. “The defendant’s sentence will not restore Mr. Pineda’s health but it should prevent the defendant from risking others’ lives while sending a clear message to other dangerous drivers that their behavior will not be tolerated.”
DA Rice said that at approximately 10:10 a.m. on April 22, at the intersection of Brush Hollow Road and Hillcrest Drive in Westbury, Edwards was high on drugs and drove her grey 2010 Toyota Corolla at approximately 65 miles per hour through a red light, across Brush Hollow Road from the side street and crashed into a Ford Econoline delivery van driven by 45-year-old Jose Pineda of Hempstead. The van was full of bottled water and other beverages. Edwards’s vehicle was airborne at one point before the impact.
Mr. Pineda’s van was violently pushed through the intersection and into a light pole. The impact caused the light pole to cut so far into the driver’s compartment that Mr. Pineda’s face was resting against it after the crash. An hour-long extrication was required to free Mr. Pineda, who suffered traumatic injuries, including a fractured pelvis and breaks to his legs and hip, leaving him in critical condition at the time of the incident. Mr. Pineda was unable to walk for almost two months and is continuing to receive treatment for his serious injuries.
Edwards’s Corolla also struck a nearby parked car, pushing it backwards 10 to 15 feet. Edwards, who was not seriously injured, was under the influence of drugs at the time of the incident, and was also in possession of substances determined to be heroin and crack cocaine.
Assistant District Attorneys Stefanie Palma and Steven Henesy of DA Rice’s Vehicular Crimes Bureau are prosecuting the case. Edwards is represented by Jeff Groder, Esq.