Alleged 'Drunk' Nun Appears In Court
By ANDREW RAMOS wpix.com
1:45 PM EDT, September 4, 2009
HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. (WPIX) - A Long Island nun who is accused of polishing off a half bottle of gin and then going for a wild joyride where she nearly killed a group of children, appeared in court Friday to face the music.
Sister Lauren Hanley of the St. Frances de Chantal Church in Wantagh had nothing to say to reporters after leaving First District Court where she appeared to answer charges of driving while intoxicated and aggravated driving while intoxicated.
According to police, Hanley was arrested Tuesday after registering a 0.18 blood-alcohol level on a breathalyzer test - which is more than twice the legal limit of 0.08.
Hanley, 68, was traveling in a 2006 Toyota Corolla when witnesses saw her side-swiping several parked cars, zig-zagging on residential lawns and sending neighborhood children running for their lives, officials said.
Authorities said Hanley admitted to officers that she had started drinking at around 3 p.m. at St. Frances de Chantal where she works as a spiritual director. It was hours later, when the naughty nun wreaked havoc outside homes on Hawthorne Drive - just a short distance from the church.
Witnesses said they saw Hanley gliding around on two residential lawns before hitting a number of parked cars and crashing into a tree.
Two children who were playing outside of their home were nearly mowed down by the Godsend Boozy Susie.
"She skidded out on the grass, then she came back down at like 55, 60 miles per hour down the street," 11-year-old Alex Stein told PIX News, after nearly being killed by the out-of-control vehicle. "It was very frightening at first, then you realize you can't trust anybody."
Hanley had no previous arrests or DWI convictions.
The Sisters of St. Joesph's - the order that Hanley has been a part of for 47 years - said they're thankful no one was hurt.
"Our first response to this accident is one of deep gratitude to God that no one was injured," the sister order said in a statement. "We will cooperate fully with the investigation and its findings."