Long Island student's wheelchair-accessible van destroyed by alleged drunk driver

Michelle Charlesworth Image
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
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A student's wheelchair-accessible van was wrecked by an alleged drunk driver.

HOLBROOK, Long Island (WABC) -- A wheelchair-accessible van needed by a Long Island college student to get to school was incinerated in a crash in his driveway caused by an alleged drunk driver.

Danny Ferencsik, who was born with spinal muscular atrophy, uses the van to get to classes at Farmingdale State College.

But at about 2:45 a.m. on Sunday, police say a vehicle driven by a drunken driver slammed into the van, causing it to go up in flames.

"I'm shocked. This was my way to get to and from school, and other things, doctor's appointments," said Danny.

Danny now has an exhausting 1-3 hour commute in the county van for a trip that used to take 30 minutes when his mother Theresa drove him in their own van.

"Danny's taking Suffolk County transportation, and thank God it's in place because he can get to where he needs to go, but it does add..doubles the time and triples the time," she said.

Suffolk Police say 27-year-old Avinasha Mahadeo, who lives right down the street, caused the crash and fire, and was driving drunk. He is out on $5,000 bail.

"He was arrested immediately after he went to the bathroom on someone's lawn, that's how remorseful he was," Theresa said.

Suffolk Police also add he was convicted of drunk driving a few years ago.

"I'd like to see him go to jail so he doesn't kill somebody," said Theresa. "I'd love to see him come down and say I'm sorry but that's not gonna happen."

The $65,000 van was paid for and insured, but replacing it will be a bear.

"He's awesome, he's smart, he's funny, he's got lots of friends, he's involved," said Theresa of Danny. "He doesn't deserve this," we said. "No, he doesn't," she said.

Asked whether the driver has reached out to apologize or pay for the van, Danny said, "I have not once heard from him, he didn't say anything. Not one word, not from the family, not from him."

"It's a huge inconvenience, thank God nobody was hurt," said Theresa. "It's just from an irresponsible driver and you'd like to see that there is some kind of accountability. Just to replace something like this is extremely time-consuming."

Danny is no stranger to adversity but this, the fire, the lost van, the inconvenience and the reason why, his family says, is just too much.