PENN YAN — A Steuben County woman who allegedly had numerous drugs in her system when she caused a Yates County crash faces felony charges.
Danielle Sexton, 33, of Canisteo, was arraigned Tuesday on felony charges of first-degree vehicular assault, second-degree assault, and driving while ability impaired by a combined influence of drugs. She also was charged with fourth-degree criminal mischief, a misdemeanor, for damage to the other vehicle.
The charges stem from an April 25 crash at the intersection of Ferguson Corners Road and Hall Road in Benton. Police said Sexton ran a stop sign and hit a vehicle driven by William Spears of Penn Yan.
District Attorney Todd Casella said Spears was taken by ambulance to Strong Memorial Hospital in Rochester. Sexton was flown by Mercy Flight to Strong.
At the time of the crash, Sexton had a previous DWAI-drugs conviction in Steuben County. Casella said Sexton is facing a similar charge in Livingston County.
Casella added that toxicology reports show Sexton was under the influence of several drugs at the time of the Yates County crash, including fentanyl.
“She had a pretty significant level of impairment,” Casella said. “We take these cases very seriously. What people are driving on these days is as bad, if not worse, than driving under the influence of alcohol.”
Casella said the crash was at the same intersection of a 2016 accident that seriously injured a retired Penn Yan school official, Richard “Dick” Shaver of Benton. The impaired driver in that case, 23-year-old Evan Cota of Jerusalem, was later sentenced to 1-3 years in prison for vehicular assault and driving under the influence of drugs.
Casella said for a small county, Yates has a large number of arrests for driving under the influence of drugs. The county is training more deputies to be drug recognition experts.
“Law enforcement is looking for these impaired drivers, and we are prosecuting them,” he said.
Judge Jason Cook remanded Sexton to the county jail in lieu of $5,000 bail or $10,000 bond.