ROSLYN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — An incredible story of bravery unfolded Thursday on Long Island. Two young sisters saved themselves, police said, and the driving community when they took the bold initiative to call 911 from the backseat of their father’s car — to tell emergency operators they feared their dad was driving drunk.
Nassau County’s Highway Patrol said the extraordinary story unfolded in Roslyn. As the officers drove up to the suspect’s car, where he had pulled over on the shoulder near Exit 39 of the Long Island Expressway, an area swarming with high-speed traffic, the driver’s young children were frantically waving, flagging them down.
The Long Island father, Ja Mail Lewis of Freeport, police claim, admitted he’d been drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana laced with PCP. Most incredibly, the officers said they were alerted to the alleged crime by the alleged driver’s own frantic daughters, ages 12 and 14, who, themselves, dialed 911 from the car, turning in their own father.
“My granddaughters are fine. Yes, I am very proud of my granddaughter, because I think she used very good judgment,” the suspect’s mother told CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan exclusively Thursday from his home.
When asked if her son has a drinking problem, the mother said, “Yes, it is,” adding when asked about alleged drug use, “I don’t know, but that is what [they] told me.”
CBS 2’s McLogan asked to speak to her granddaughters, but she was told, “They are not here. They don’t live here. They live in Glen Cove. In fact, today is one of them’s birthday.”
The children, who were at school Thursday, asked not to be identified, but community residents were singing their praises.
“You have to commend them, because they could have probably been dead, had they not called. They are very courageous kids. I give them a high-five, heads up,” Freeport resident Nicoy Salmon said.
“They have good character, being able to turn their dad in. I hope if I had been their age, and had been in that situation, that I would have been brave enough to do the same thing,” added resident Peter Cirona.
Lewis, 37, is a union carpenter who was once before arrested for DWI, police said. He pleaded not guilty.
The judge suspended his license and held him on $40,000 bond.
Lewis’ attorney said her client’s blood-alcohol level was on the threshold of being sober, and that he pulled over when his children became concerned.
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