MANORVILLE, N.Y. – A Highway Patrol officer jumped into a moving car to save a toddler and arrest the child's allegedly impaired mother Thursday afternoon, New York authorities said.
Maria Lagatta, 37, was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, aggravated driving while intoxicated with a child and endangering the welfare of a child, police said. (Photo: Suffolk County PD)
Maria Lagatta, 37, was driving approximately 20 miles per hour eastbound on the Long Island Expressway when Highway Patrol Officer Joseph Goss tried to pull her over around 5:30 p.m., police said.
When Lagatta refused to stop, Goss pulled alongside her and saw a child in the rear passenger seat, police told WPIX-TV.
"I'm a dad myself ... the first thing we do as a police officer is scan the car for threats, and the biggest threat I saw was that baby getting rear-ended," Goss said.
Lagatta then slowed down to approximately five miles per hour, and Goss sped past her, parking his vehicle on the right shoulder before jumping into her car through the passenger seat window.
Goss brought the vehicle to a stop, police said, and neither Lagatta nor her young daughter were hurt. The girl was released to a family member and Child Protective Services was notified.
Lagatta was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs, aggravated driving while intoxicated with a child passenger 15 years old or younger, and endangering the welfare of a child, police said.
She will be arraigned at First District Court in Central Islip on Dec. 30.