HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (CBS/AP) - On a sunny, spring Tuesday afternoon, 18-year-old Kayla Gerdes, allegedly high on painkillers, crashed a van into a house, killing a 69-year-old woman gardening in her front yard, say police.
As cops led her away from the horrific scene, the teen DUI suspect was hysterical, and attempted to defend her actions behind the wheel, reports CBS affiliate WCBS.
"I didn't [aim for the victim]. Listen, stop, listen it was an accident. It was an accident, please, leave me alone! It was a mistake, stop! I was on prescription drugs, it was a mistake, stop!" she ranted, the station reports.
"The car, it went out of control, I was pressing the brake and it wouldn't go. It was a mistake, I'm sorry!," Gerdes wailed.
Gerdes pled not guilty Wednesday to vehicular manslaughter and other charges related to the crash and is being held on $200,000 bond.Reportedly, the 18-year-old from Freeport, N.Y. was kicked out of her mother's home after stealing her jewelry to support a drug habit. She was due in court Tuesday morning to face a grand larceny charge.
Police claim the teen was in a hurry and her boyfriend was driving too slowly, so she took matters into her own hands. Gerdes leapt behind the wheel of her boyfriend's construction van without a license, and careened out of control, killing respected zoologist Rebecca Twine-Wright, ultimately slamming the vehicle onto the front porch and into the living room, reports WCBS.
Defense attorney John Lewis says his client is devastated over the woman's death. Lewis said Gerdes had been in drug rehab, but was kicked out when the insurance wouldn't pay for the full 28-day treatment, the staion reports.