Sons of Long Island federal judge killed in hit-and-run remember mother as 'inspiration to young women'

CENTRAL ISLIP, Long Island (WABC) -- The sons of the Long Island federal judge killed in a hit-and-run crash are remembering her as an inspiration to young women pursuing a legal career and as a devoted mother.

"To me, she was the perfect mother - she always there when I needed her and she selflessly put us first," said Adam Feuerstein.

Feuerstein and his brother, Seth Feuerstein, spoke exclusively with Eyewitness News reporter Kristin Thorne in their first television interview.

Eastern District of New York federal Judge Sandra Feuerstein, 75, was killed on April 9 while walking on a sidewalk in Boca Raton, Florida.

Police said 23-year-old Nastasia Snape was behind the wheel of the car, which jumped the sidewalk. A six-year-old boy was also seriously injured in the incident.

Snape allegedly took off but was later found by officers. She's being charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a crash.

Seth Feuerstein recalled trying to reach his mother on the day of the incident when she didn't show up to an appointment.

"It was several hours of chaos trying to figure out, you know, what had happened, where she was," he said.

Sandra Feuerstein worked as a teacher in the New York City public school system from 1966 to 1971 before attending law school at the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, where she graduated with honors in 1979.

Nominated to the federal bench by George W. Bush in 2003, Feuerstein had been presiding over cases in the Central Islip courthouse for nearly 20 years, prior to which she served as a state court judge for 16 years.

"She worked seven days a week because she loved it and she loved doing that impactful work," Seth Feuerstein said.

Annette Elstein, Sandra Feuerstein's mother, was one of the first female graduates of Columbia Law School and worked as a federal immigration judge into her 90's. She died last April at 99 years old.

Elstein and Feuerstein are considered the first mother-daughter pair of judges in the U.S.

Seth Feuerstein said his mother had no plans to retire.

"In our minds, this job, my mom was going to put in at least another 15 years, if not 20 or more," he said.

Feuerstein's sons said they have received hundreds of messages from people since their mother's death telling them how their mother inspired them.

"A babysitter of mine, when I was little, found me online and sent me a note letting me know my mom was the reason that she went to law school," Adam Feuerstein said. "When I hear about all the other lives that she positively impacted, I mean it does bring some comfort, but it's just a sad and empty time."

A scholarship for female students at Cardozo Law School is being set up in Feuerstein's name. Click here to donate.

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