TUCKAHOE, N.Y. -- Shaquille Griffiths, 20, was peacefully sleeping in his house at Marble Place, in Tuckahoe, when a loud noise woke him up at 4 a.m. on Sunday. He looked out of his window and saw a smashed Dodge Caravan crawling down the street and making scratching sounds. In the next minute, the police arrived and arrested the lone driver.
Griffiths went out of the house and, to his dismay, found his 1997 Toyota Corolla also badly damaged. The car was parallel parked in front of the house when the Dodge Caravan hit it, he said.
"I was heart broken. That's my first car," said Griffiths, a lifeguard who is studying pre-engineering at Westchester Community College.
The Dodge Caravan's driver, Luis Bertozzi, 52, a Brazilian and Tuckahoe resident, failed the field sobriety test and was arrested on the spot, police said. He was taken to Tuckahoe police station, where he was submitted to a BAC Data Master test, which he also failed, police said. The tested indicated that his blood alcohol content was 0.21, when the limit is 0.08, police said.
Bertozzi, who police charged with DWI, was not injured in the accident.
"He was lucky, considering the damages the car incurred," said Lieutenant Ray Stabile, of Tuckahoe police department.
Bertozzi was subsequently released without bail, after his wife arrived at the police station, police said. He was arraigned and appeared at Tuckahoe Court on Tuesday morning, accompanied by a friend, Janete Sucena, and his lawyer Ron Ritz.
Outside the courtroom, Bertozzi explained to Ritz that he spent Sunday night with friends in Mount Vernon. He also said that he had never been in court before.
"We are going to plead not guilty and see how the case goes," Ritz said.
Bertozzi declined to comment.
Shaquille's mother Trevorlyn Banton, 50, was distressed because her son needs the car to work, but said that Bertozzi's insurance company guaranteed to pay for the damages.
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