MASSAPEQUA, NY (CBSNewYork) - A Long Island man has been charged with DWI under Leandra's Law after police say he was driving while high on drugs when he was pulled over with his kids in the car.
Police say 35-year-old Carlo Guercia was pulled over after officers saw him swerving as he left Marjorie Post Park in Massapequa.
1010 WINS' Mona Rivera talks to neighbors
He was charged with DWI under Leandra's Law as well as possessing Oxycodone pills and endangering the welfare of a child. Guercia had his two children in the car, an infant and a 3-year-old, when he was pulled over, according to Nassau Police Lt. Det. Kevin Smith.
WCBS 880's Sophia Hall On Long Island
Officials say witnesses, including Town of Oyster Bay parks workers, saw Guercia in the park leave his baby boy alone, take the 3-year-old by the neck, slap him in the face and shake him while telling him to shut up . "He was yelling and screaming at the child...at one point slapped the child with an open hand and began to choke the child around the neck," said Smith.
Witnesses then called 911 and Guercia was arrested while driving away with the kids in his car, 1010 WINS' Mona Rivera reported.
Neighbors told Rivera Guerica has been troubled by a drug and alcohol problem for years. "I think the police actually just saved the kids lives by arresting him," neighbor Mary Alice Vergara said.
He works in the family construction business and lives with his wife and 2 kids in this waterfront home in a neighborhood bordering a canal in Massapequa.
The kids are now in their mother's care.
Leandra's Law enhances penalties for those found to have been driving while intoxicated with a child in the vehicle. It is named for Leandra Rosado, who was killed in a drunk driving wreck in 2009.
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