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Police: Long Island Woman Charged With DWI After Fatal Head-On Crash

SMITHTOWN, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A Long Island woman has been charged with driving while intoxicated following a deadly early morning head-on collision, police said.

Natalia Simons, 36, of Kings Park was driving a Nissan Rogue northbound on Route 25A in Smithtown when her vehicle crossed over into the southbound lanes, striking a Toyota Camry around 12:05 a.m. Friday, police said.

Police: Long Island Woman Charged With DWI After Fatal Head-On Crash

The driver of the Camry, 59-year-old Larry Garwood of Island Park, had just left his job as a radiology supervisor at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center when he was struck and killed.

"He works to the midnight shift and left the hospital parking lot and the drunk driver hit him head-on," his widow, Kim Garwood, told 1010 WINS' Mona Rivera.

Larry Garwood
Victim Larry Garwood and his wife Kim in 2014 photo. (credit: Handout)

St. Catherine's Executive Vice President and CAO Paul J. Rowland spoke glowingly of Larry Garwood.

"We are deeply saddened by the sudden and tragic passing of skillful and well respected Radiology Supervisor Larry Garwood. Mr. Garwood has been a dedicated employee at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center since 2009.  At this difficult time, we express our heartfelt condolences to his family and our staff. As his colleagues are grieving his loss at this time, we will offer crisis management services to our employees," Rowland said in a statement.

Kim Garwood is calling for harsher penalties for DWI offenders.

"I just feel this drunken driving has to stop. I don't know how to stop it. I don't know what they can do. I don't know how they can change the laws and I believe she belongs in jail," Kim Garwood said. "She took him from me. She took him from my family. He's gone."

Police: Long Island Woman Charged With DWI After Fatal Head-On Crash

Assistant District Attorney Ray Varulo said Simons admitted to police she had been drinking.

"It was pretty bad. The cars were mangled, looked like a serious accident in the middle of the road, toward the left-hand side as she crossed over," Varulo told WCBS 880's Sophia Hall.

Simons, who was injured and treated at Stony Brook University Hospital, pleaded not guilty Friday. Bail was set at $50,000 cash or $150,000 bond. Simons is due back in court on April 8.

"This is a tragic accident. The thoughts and prayers of the families are out to Mr. Garwood's family. Right now it's a misdemeanor DWI. We'll see what the evidence shows before we rush to judgment," said attorney John Lewis, who is representing Simons.

The victim's stepdaughter, Nicole, told CBS2's Tony Aiello she was upset with Simons' plea.

"She was able to plead not guilty being drunk and I don't understand how that's possible. Why is it right when she is clearly drunk to plead not guilty and walk away on $50,000 bail?" Nicole said.

Both vehicles were impounded for safety checks.

Detectives are asking anyone who may have witnessed the crash to contact the Vehicular Crime Unit at 631-852-6555 or call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

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