Gerdes is facing vehicular manslaughter and other charges in the Tuesday crash in Hempstead that killed 69-year-old Rebecca Twine-Wright.
Defense attorney John R. Lewis says his client was devastated when told the woman had been killed. He said Gerdes, who has pleaded not guilty, has an addiction problem.
Police say the 18-year-old Gerdes has no driver's license and was speeding when she lost control of the van on Cathedral Avenue.
"Leave me alone, leave me alone," Gerdes said Wednesday. "It was a mistake. The car...I'm so sorry. It was a mistake. I didn't mean to do it."
She may be sorry now, but detectives say Gerdes was also high on oxycodone while behind the wheel of the van.