Passenger in deadly crash charged in new DWI

June 3, 2010 2:50:55 PM PDT
A Long Island man charged Wednesday with DWI was the passenger in a van that fatally mowed down a woman in April.

Authorities say 29-year-old Brian Steele, charged with driving while impaired by what is believed to be Xanax and Vicodin, was riding with Kayla Gerdes when the vehicle rode up on a lawn and ran over 69-year-old Rebecca Twine-Wright while she was mowing her lawn in Hempstead on April 21.

The 18-year-old Gerdes was later discovered to have been high on Oxycontin while driving. Steele was not charged in that case.

Steele was arrested Wednesday after officers caught him driving without a seat belt on Narwood Avenue in Oceanside.

Officers who pulled him over asked him to step out of the car and said he appeared to be unsteady on his feet, had slurred speech and was slow to respond.

Steele is charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, driving while ability impaired by drugs and driving while ability impaired by combined influences, as well as driving without a seat belt.