Laura Catell is charged with violating Leandra's Law with her seven-year old daughter in the car and crashing into another car with children passengers
MINEOLA, N.Y. – Acting Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a Garden City woman was arraigned on an eight-count indictment today for operating a vehicle while intoxicated in April while her daughter was in the car.
Laura Catell, 43, of Garden City, was arraigned on the following grand jury indictment charges today:
• Operating a Motor Vehicle while Under the Influence of Alcohol or Drugs, With a Child, also known as Leandra’s Law (a E felony)• Aggravated Driving while Intoxicated (an unclassified misdemeanor)• Two Counts of Operating a Motor Vehicle while Under the Influence of Alcohol (an unclassified misdemeanor)• Endangering the Welfare of a Child (an A misdemeanor)• Assault in the 3rd Degree (an A misdemeanor)• Reckless Endangerment in the 2nd Degree (an A misdemeanor)• Reckless Driving (an unclassified misdemeanor)
Acting Supreme Court Justice Patricia Harrington released Catell on her own recognizance and ordered the defendant back to court on September 16. If convicted of the top charge, Catell faces a maximum sentence 1-1/3 years to 4 years in prison.
“This defendant recklessly operated a car while she was intoxicated, endangering her life, her daughter’s life and everyone else on the road that day,” Acting DA Singas said. “She drove into oncoming traffic in the middle of the day and crashed into an innocent driver with her 11-year old twin grandchildren in the car. The other driver was injured but thankfully fate spared all of the children. It is just luck this wasn't much worse."
Acting DA Singas said that on April 25 at approximately 1:30 p.m., Catell was traveling eastbound on 6th Avenue in Garden City when she collided with another vehicle near the Cathedral Avenue intersection. Catell was driving at the time with her seven-year old daughter in the car.
Catell was arrested by the Garden City Police Department at the scene.
Leandra’s Law, named after 11-year-old Leandra Rosado who died in an October 2009 crash, was enacted to strengthen penalties against drivers who operate vehicles under the influence of alcohol or drugs when there is a child in the vehicle.
Assistant District Attorney Katie Zizza of Acting DA Singas’ Vehicular Crimes Bureau is prosecuting the case. Catell is represented by Marc Gann, Esq.
The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.