L.I. joyrider admits to crash, using cocaine

Yolanda Silvera admitted to driving her car into two construction workers while high on cocaine. Photo courtesy of Queens DA's office
By Ivan Pereira

A Long Island woman admitted last week to severely injuring two construction workers in Springfield Gardens more than a year ago while she was driving while high on crack cocaine, the Queens district attorney said.

Yolanda Silvera, 29, of Malverne, L.I., pleaded guilty to first-degree assault Feb. 23 in the Aug. 13, 2009, incident in which her car struck two men, Queens DA Richard Brown said. Silvera told officers she had smoked crack, which her passenger was carrying during the time of the accident, before getting behind the wheel, according to the DA.

Both victims needed multiple surgeries to recover from their injuries and one had his leg amputated, according to Brown.

“The defendant’s decision to get behind the wheel of a vehicle while impaired by drugs has forever changed her life and the lives of the two men she struck,” he said in a statement.

Silvera, who does not have a valid driver’s license, was driving her 2002 Nissan at 60 miles per hour while arguing with David Kruger, 40, of Bellmore, L.I., around 10:40 p.m. when she came to the intersection of Rockaway Boulevard and 150th Street, the DA said. Other vehicles were stopped at the intersection, but Silvera kept moving and veered into a construction barrier and struck Michael Hudson and Robert Keller, who were working on the street, according to Brown.

The force of the impact sent one of the workers flying over the car’s hood and police later found the vehicle’s front end smashed, the windows blown out and bloodstains on the trunk and rear passenger door, Brown said.

Hudson sustained facial trauma and injuries to his lower extremities that required the amputation of his lower left leg, and Keller had injuries to his lower extremities that required multiple surgeries over the last 18 months, according to the DA.

Kruger pleaded guilty to criminal possession of a controlled substance and was scheduled to be sentenced Tuesday, Brown said.

Queens Supreme Court Justice Steven W. Paynter ordered Silvera to return to court March 11 for sentencing, according to the DA. The judge has indicated he would sentence her to nine years in prison and five years post-release supervision, the DA said.

“Reckless behavior such as that of the defendant cannot be tolerated and, as evidenced by the expected sentence, will be severely punished,” he said in a statement.

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e-mail at ipereira@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-260-4546.

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