2 Long Islanders Charged With Driving Under Influence Of Prescription Drugs In Fatal Wrecks

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota has announced the indictment of two people on charges of causing fatal car crashes while under the influence of prescription medications.

Steven Kinalis, 30, of Ronkonkoma, is accused of causing a rear-end collision that killed 5-year-old John Gaffney on Sunrise Highway near Shirley.

Spota told CBS2’s Carolyn Gusoff that Gaffney’s case was particularly tragic.

“Here is a kid, a five-year old kid going to get a Christmas tree to have a merry christmas, and he is dead,” he said.

Prosecutors said a toxicology report showed Kinalis was impaired by oxycodone and other prescription drugs after his arrest on Dec. 10, when he slammed into the Gaffney family’s pickup truck.

Kinalis is now facing upgraded homicide charges. The DA says the tragic case highlights the devastating effects of driving while abusing medication.

Elizabeth Peacock, 45, was arrested on New Year’s Eve after allegedly hitting a mother and daughter who were standing behind their car on Horseblock Road in Medford.  The daughter, 40-year-old Maria Galeas, was killed.

The DA says that Elizabeth Peacock was driving after practically “pouring” xanax down her throat.

The accident has had a profound impact on the Galeas family.

“She was a good, good daughter, studying biology,” said Jose Galeas, the victim’s father.

There have been many more tragedies. The DA says suspected cases of driving under the influence of prescription drugs in Suffolk numbered 700 last year, twice what they were five years ago.

CBS2 reached out to the attorneys for the defendants in both of these cases, they have not responded.

How do you think authorities can curb drugged driving? Let us know in our comments section below…




One Comment

  1. Greta says:

    James Xanax is a drug for mental health problems. That Oxy stuff is only used by drug addicts or terminally ill people, does that guy look terminally ill to you? The woman in question is obviously suffering from mental health issues not drug addiction.

  2. Only one says:

    Drugs addicts will never learn.

  3. Mo says:

    Could this women be the person involved with a hit and run 2 weeks ago, just blocks from the accident above. In this hit and run a 14 year old girl has broken pelic, femur, and leg . I ‘m sure this women is not off her meds yet?

  4. greta says:

    The first one is an obvious drug addict, the second one was probably taking the xanax for legitimate reasons and didn’t realize she was impaired. It doesn’t help that the bottle labels say “use caution when driving” giving one the impression it’s ok to drive on this stuff. They need to change the label to read “ILLEGAL TO DRIVE WHILE USING THIS MEDICATION”. I don’t know why it doesn’t already.

    1. James says:

      Greta, you say the man”s an obvious addict, but the woman was “probably” legitimately medicated? The woman is the only person who is explicitly noted as having taken a large dose. Are you making a judgement because we have a nice grumpy mug shot for the man, and not the woman?

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