Since September of 2006, there have several cases of mothers driving while intoxicated with their children in the car. Most tragically, Ann Marie Ciarcia, of Yorktown Heights, New York was driving while intoxicated last September after a night of drinking and partying with her daughter and daughter’s friend, 16 year old Emily Cornish. Ms. Ciarcia’s blood alcohol level was .15, nearly twice the legal limit of .08, when she began traveling northbound in the southbound lanes of the Saw Mill Parkway and crashed her minivan into a Honda Odyssey driven by Edward Cook, a Yorktown resident who was on his way to work.
The head on collision killed Ms. Cornish, who was the only child of Carol Cornish. Ms. Cornish informed the Court that although she had forgiven Ms. Ciarcia, she felt that Ciarcia needed to be held accountable.
The Yorktown Heights mom who pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter, second-degree vehicular assault and driving while intoxicated was sentenced to 16 months to 4 years in state prison Friday.
Ciarcia’s husband will now care for their four children, who are all in therapy.
In December of 2006, Jeanine Chrysogelos, a Somers, New York resident, was arrested for driving while intoxicated with her two children in the car.
State troopers say Ms.Chrysogelos drove her two children home from school Wednesday after she had been drinking. Authorities say she passed out in the driveway while her sons ran to a neighbor’s house to call for help. Police say Chrysogelos had a blood alcohol level three times the legal limit. Chrysogelos was charged with aggravated DWI ( a blood alcohol level of .18 and above) and two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Ms. Chrysogelos was not permitted to visit with her family the weekend of the accident and during Christmas.
More recently, two weeks ago, according to Mount Vernon police, a woman crashed her car into parked vehicles and slid into a driveway ditch with her 8-year-old son aboard. No one was injured in the accident. The woman, who police say refused a Breathalyzer test, has been charged with DWI leaving the scene of an accident and endangering the welfare of a child.
Overall, in the last six months, police say about that 10 women have been charged with drunk driving with their children in the car. With the recent amendment to the DWI laws, including the recently adopted aggravated DWI charge and the more stringent restrictions on plea agreements to the reduced charge of DWAI (Driving while ability impaired) it is hoped that this trend will be severely curtailed.