By Danny Schrafel
Suffolk police charged a Huntington Station woman with driving while under the influence of drugs and leaving the scene of an accident after she barreled through the streets of Huntington Station and downtown Huntington village in a Dodge Charger and smashed into multiple cars.
A police spokesman identified the suspect as Barbara LaMantia, 58, who he said was being observed at Huntington Hospital Wednesday evening.
Complaints to police about a woman erratically driving and swiping cars started coming in at around 2 p.m., police said. The woman was soon pulled over at the corner of East Carver Street and New York Avenue, according to witnesses.
Huntington’s Mario Graziosi was on his way home from nearby TD Bank before a trip to Naples, Italy. He was due to be at John F. Kennedy Airport at 4 p.m. for his flight, about two hours after the incident occurred.
“I looked out my rear-view mirror and I see a woman driving down the middle of the road, honking, hitting people,” Graziosi said.
He said that he pulled over in the intersection of Elm Street and New York Avenue in front of Capitol Health with hopes of avoiding her. Instead, she rear-ended his car, pushing him nearly in front of the Bank of America’s drive-through entrance.
“She really hit me hard,” he said. “And I’m standing on the brake.”
Then, Graziosi said, she wheeled around, continued driving and hit more cars.
Another victim, Christine Smith, said the woman hit her at the intersection of High Street and New York Avenue, damaging the bumper of her car. She was taking her dog to the vet when she was hit.
“When she hit me, she took off, and I followed her,” Smith said.
“She went around the block a few times,” Graziosi said.
A Suffolk County police spokeswoman confirmed multiple cars were hit, but it remained unclear at press time exactly how many cars were damaged.