Sobriety checks resuming in Suffolk County to crack down on intoxicated drivers

Chanteé Lans Image
Thursday, July 4, 2024
Sobriety checks resume in Suffolk County to crack down on DWI drivers
Chantee Lans has more on the renewed efforts following last week's deadly crash in Deer Park.

LONG ISLAND (WABC) -- Police in Suffolk County are cracking down on intoxicated drivers -- especially during the summer and holidays -- and they are bringing back sobriety checkpoints.

"Unfortunately this is a week when we always see an uptick in accident-related deaths," said Suffolk County Police Department Deputy Commissioner Kevin Catalina.

The recent deadly crash in Deer Park into a popular nail salon, allegedly at the hands of a repeat offending drunk driver, left the community devastated with four lives to mourn -- including a customer and off-duty NYPD Officer Emilia Rennhack.

Rennhack's husband worked with her as a detective in the 102 Precinct in Queens.

"He was devastated," said Mayor Eric Adams. "It's just a devastating story, just reinforces as we move into the July 4th weekend how drinking and driving is a terrible combination."

Similar sentiments were shared by the Nassau County Police Department, which has already investigated six DWI deaths so far this year.

In 2023, Nassau police responded to a total of 13, including a Uniondale family of four -- a father, his two young children, and his 6-year-old step-granddaughter were killed in East Massapequa on the Sunrise Highway.

"I have to explain how my daughter died and why I don't have her to people all the time, it's not a good feeling, horrible," said Divina Hamilton, mother of one of the victims.

The driver, 33-year-old Michael DeAngelo from Lindenhurst, was high on cocaine and fentanyl and speeding at 120 mph when he crashed into the family. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to seven to 21 years in prison.

Nassau County Police Dept. 1st Deputy Police Commissioner Kevin Smith spoke out on the upcoming holiday amid drunk driving concerns.

"If you are going out, you made a choice to go out," said Smith. "Make a choice to do the right thing on the way home because we are going to be out at locations where people heavily drink."

Officials say 2022 was the deadliest year on Long Island when 245 people died in crashes, including 164 alone in Suffolk County.

That's the highest there and across New York State. One-third of all of the crashes were DWIs.


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