MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island man was charged with driving while intoxicated after he allegedly mowed down an 11-year-old boy and two adults Monday in Freeport.
Mitchell Messling, 66, of Massapequa, appeared in court Tuesday morning, wearing swim trunks.
Police said his car jumped a curb around 4 p.m. and slammed into the victims on West Merrick Road near South Long Beach Avenue.
A judge ordered Messling held on $200,000 bond.
Messling is charged with DWI, reckless driving, reckless endangerment, vehicular assault and assault.
He relinquished his driver’s license following the chaotic crash.
He’s accused of running down a family, whose 11-year-old boy had to be airlifted to a hospital with a concussion and a broken arm. He was listed in stable condition. The adult victims both suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The child somehow avoided a brain injury.
“Thankfully for him that God gave us this hard skull to try to protect us, and that is what protected him,” said Dr. Jose Prince of Cohen Children’s Hospital.
The family was visiting from another country, standing on the corner when they were suddenly struck from behind.
Witnesses Mike and Carol Dolan told CBS2 they called 911 when they noticed the out-of-control car swerving.
“He would weave, almost hit the curb, and then come back into the lane,” said Carol Dolan. “He stopped – dead stop – and then he drove really fast, and that’s when I think he hit the people.”
They weren’t the only people to notice the swerving.
“He saw the car was moving a little bit weird and then, next thing he knows, the people got hit,” witness Gladys Santos said.
“Some of the family was able to avoid the injury because the mother, sounds like, tried to save one of the kids by pushing them out of the way,” Dr. Prince said.
The two adults suffered lower body injuries, including multiple leg fractures. A witness described the boy’s injuries.
“His head was like swollen,” witness Kathy Magana said. “I saw they were laying in the grass and the paramedics were helping them.”
Prosecutors say Messling was using West Merrick Road as a cut through to Jones Beach, where he was spending Memorial Day. It’s not far from his Massapequa home.
“They are coming here the same speed they would travel on a parkway, and everybody’s life is in jeopardy,” said Freeport homeowner Virginia Schimm.
According to the felony complaint, Messling told police “I had one drink. It was a vodka Sprite.”
Nearly two hours after the pandemonium, Messling’s blood alcohol level measured .17, nearly twice the legal limit.
Messling works at Rallye Motors in BMW sales. He has pleaded not guilty.