2012-05-24 / Front Page

Accused in fatal DWI crash to be given 6-day leave

Unusual release prompted by child's birth
Eric Gross

A Stormville man accused of killing a Bronx woman on Route 22 in a tragic Southeast crash nearly 18 months ago will be permitted to leave the Putnam Correctional Facility for six days after his second child is born.

Putnam County Judge James Rooney granted the order last week allowing James DeMartino, 25, to be released from the county jail after the child's birth with specific orders to return six days later and during his release not to use any drugs or alcohol.

In an exclusive interview, District Attorney Adam Levy told the Courier that defense counsel Michael Fahey made the application for the "144 hour leave. In good conscience the people could not oppose that application based on the defendant's lack of criminal history. Mr. DeMartino has never missed a court appearance. This is no way minimizes the seriousness of the charges for which he was indicted—depraved indifference murder, for which he will stand trial after a jury is selected on June 13."

DeMartino has been held on $150,000 bail since December after being indicted on charges of second degree murder, second degree assault, aggravated vehicular homicide, aggravated vehicular assault, reckless driving and DWI.

Levy said the crash took place on Nov. 6 at 10:40 p.m. when DeMartino's vehicle speeding northbound at 100 mph crossed into the oncoming lane of traffic near Doansburg Road and crashed into a southbound car operated by Stephanie Wright of the Bronx.

Wright's passenger, Michelle Mathis, 56, was killed while Wright suffered serious injuries. DeMartino was also badly injured while a passenger in his car, Paul Diaz, 25, of Carmel suffered less serious trauma.

Police said at the time of the crash, DeMartino's blood alcohol level measured at .16 percent or twice the legal threshold for drunken driving in New York State.

Levy said if found guilty, DeMartino faces up to 25 years in state prison for the murder.

 

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