Not guilty plea in crash that killed girl

11-year-old Leandra Rosado was killed
October 28, 2009 10:14:28 AM PDT
A crying mother pleaded not guilty from her hospital bed in the drunken-driving crash that killed an 11-year-old girl and stunned a city. 31-year-old Carmen Huertas wiped her eyes with a tissue as she was arraigned via video link between a Manhattan courtroom and Elmhurst Medical Center, where she sat handcuffed to a wheelchair.

Huertas faces 15 years behind bars for the manslaughter charge. "This is a maximum time case," prosecutor Chris Ryan told the judge .

"She is devastated by the death of this child in her car," attorney Steven Rubin said.

"They're portraying her as the poster child for the bad mother, but she's really not that person," he added.

Eyewitness News is told her bail was set at $250,000.

Huertas was indicted on charges including manslaughter, assault and driving under the influence of alcohol in the Oct. 11 crash.

Huertas, with a blood alcohol level well above the legal limit when she allegedly drove recklesslessly on the Henry Hudson Parkway, after piling 7 girls into her car. One of the girls, 11-year-old Leandra Rosado, was killed in the crash.

Witnesses report that Huertas was so reckless that night, she even asked the girls to raise their hands if they thought she'd make it home without crashing.

Web Produced By: Lakisha Bostick
(The Associated Press contributed to this article)

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