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Lentini gets 1 year for leaving scene, failing to report deadly crash

October 08, 2019 08:00 PM

BALLSTON SPA - She started to talk, and then she backed up out of the view of the camera.

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"Obviously, it's been a long time and I haven't been able to say what I've wanted to say," said Maria Lentini.

It was her chance to speak about her actions in the wee hours of December 6, 2015.

The now-34-year-old was driving home from a party when she hit and killed Patrick Duff as he walked along Route 9 in Halfmoon. With Duff's body stuck in the windshield of her BMW, Lentini made and sent 17 calls and text messages to family and friends, but did not call 9-1-1.

"It wasn't obviously to the right people. It was to people I felt I could trust that were close to me, to help me and I, and I take that responsibility of making that mistake,"

Lentini wasn't accused of criminally causing Duff's death, but was charged with leaving the scene without reporting, was convicted and sentenced to one-and-a-third to four years in prison.

Her conviction was overturned on appeal. And instead of a new trial, she pleaded guilty to misdemeanor leaving the scene in exchange for 1 year in county jail.

At her sentencing Tuesday, she spoke for about 5 minutes and apologized to Duff's family and to her own.

"I was just traumatized and scared and confused, and I was not thinking clearly."

Lentini repeatedly told the judge that it was always her intention to get help.

"I'm not a monster," she said.

Judge Jim Murphy thanked Lentini for taking responsibility but reminded her that she had ample opportunity to call 9-1-1 and didn't.

"The significant number of phone calls you made after the crash to everyone except 9-1-1 is the reason why you have pled guilty and the court is imposing a sentence of one year in jail," said Murphy.

WEB EXTRA: Maria Lentini apologizes in court

Timeline of Maria Lentini Case:

  • December 6, 2015 – 30-year-old Patrick Duff killed in crash
  • December 22, 2015 – Maria Lentini Arrested
  • November 22, 2016 – Lentini Found Guilty of Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Crash
  • June 1, 2017 – Lentini Sentenced to 1-1/3 to 4 years (remained free during appeal)
  • July 11, 2018 – Granted New Trial
  • July 12, 2019 – Lentini Pleads Guilty to Misdemeanor of Leaving the Scene

Credits

Mark Mulholland

Copyright 2019 WNYT-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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