By Madina Toure
A 22-year-old woman was in critical condition after plunging off an overpass last weekend during a four-car accident that started when she was coming to the rescue of her friend, who was allegedly driving drunk on the Whitestone Expressway, the NYPD said.
Samantha Maloney, 22, was charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Maloney was arraigned Sunday and she was released on her own recognizance, Brown said. Her next court court date is April 13.
At about 5 a.m. Saturday, officers responded to a vehicular accident in the vicinity of the Grand Central Parkway and Whitestone Expressway, according to a police spokeswoman.
Officers arrived and discovered Maloney’s friend, who was seriously injured, the police spokeswoman said.
EMS responded and took the victim to NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens, where she remained in critical condition as of Wednesday afternoon with severe body trauma, the spokeswoman said.
Maloney was operating a 2014 Nissan Juke when she hit a barrier and her vehicle stopped working, according to Brown.
She pulled over to the side of the elevated roadway at the northeast intersection of the Whitestone Expressway and 126th Street and called her friend, whom a police spokeswoman identified as a 22-year-old woman driving a 2015 Dodge, for help, Brown said.
An off-duty EMT worker, who a police spokeswoman identified as a 34-year-old man driving a 2008 Chevy, also stopped to offer assistance as did another vehicle. When Maloney’s friend arrived at the scene, she pulled her car behind Maloney’s car, the DA said.
As the two women and the EMT stood outside their cars, a fifth vehicle driven by an off-duty NYPD lieutenant hit one of the cars and caused a chain reaction crash, resulting in Maloney’s friend tumbling over the expressway’s railing and fall about 23 feet to the ground, the DA said.
The police spokeswoman said EMS also took the EMS worker and the NYPD lieutenant to NewYork-Presbyterian/Queens. Both were in stable condition as of Wednesday afternoon, with the EMT suffering a broken arm.
When police arrived at the scene, Maloney allegedly had bloodshot, watery eyes, a flushed face, a heavy odor of alcohol on her breath and was swaying, the Queens DA said.
A field sobriety test and a Horizontal Gaze Nystagmus test were administered and Maloney allegedly failed both tests and refused to submit a portable breathalyzer test, Brown said.
She was later taken to the NYPD’s 112th Precinct where an intoxilyzer test was administered to her about four hours later, indicating that she had a .095 percent or more of alcohol in her blood, above the legal limit of .08 in New York City, the DA continued.
Maloney alleged told police in a statement that on the evening of March 11, she was at Central Club in Astoria and at about 10 p.m., she had a vodka tonic and left the club between 3:30 a.m. and 4 a.m. to drive home, the official said.
Reach reporter Madina Toure by e-mail at mtour