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Uncle Charged With Violating Suffolk County Social Host Law After Teenage Niece Arrested For 2 DWIs

CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A Long Island teenager was in court Monday to answer for two alleged drunk-driving accidents.

But she isn't the only one facing charges for her actions, CBS2's Jennifer McLogan reported.

Christina Burns, 17, of Selden was escorted out of arraignment court in Central Islip moments after posting $30,000 bond.

Police said Burns attended her cousin's graduation party on Saturday night in Bohemia and admitted to drinking five spiked sparkling seltzers before spending the night. She awoke Sunday in time to try to drive to her cashier's job, but at 6:50 a.m. prosecutors say the teenager was still drunk and crashed into mailboxes on Ashford Drive and then into 80-year-old Che Yeung, a neighbor of her relatives who was out for her morning stroll.

Relatives of the victim said Yeung suffered two broken legs and injuries to her head and back. She remains in critical condition at a local hospital.

Social Host Law
Christina Burns (Photo: CBS2)

About 30 minutes later, Burns was allegedly involved in a second crash, at the intersection of Route 347 and Route 25 in Nesconset, and was subsequently arrested.

"Christina is a good kid. She comes from a loving, supportive family. We have to remember here that she's presumed innocent and we have a lot of investigation to do," defense attorney James Pascarella said."

MORELong Island Lawmakers Push To Expand 'Social Host Law' To Pot, Opioids

Police are holding Burns' adult relatives responsible for serving alcohol to minors, charging her uncle, 50-year-old Francis Rogalle, with violating the Suffolk County Social Host Law.

"Very remorseful," Suffolk County Police Det. Lt. Michael Lutz said of Rogalle's reaction to the incident. "It's something that if you're not cognizant could easily happen. You go to bed at the end of a party, and there are still young people. You have to monitor where that alcohol is at all times."

The law imposes liability on the social host for injuries or damages caused by the intoxicated youth.

"It's unfortunate. It really is. I think parents should be more aware of the environment their kids are in," neighbor Jack Vullo said.

"We woke up to the woman. She was right there. I mean, my kids are like, 'Look, look outside.' We saw them take her away," neighbor Erica Dolan said.

Police said Burns failed a field sobriety test. Her uncle's social host misdemeanor charge carries a fine up to $500.

Some lawmakers in Suffolk County said Monday they will push for stronger penalties for violators of the Social Host Law, McLogan reported.

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