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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...



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