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By Rick Pezzullo
A Mahopac woman was sentenced last week to six to 18 years in state prison for fatally striking a pedestrian while driving drunk last year on Route 6N in Mahopac.
Maggie Deperna, 38, pled guilty to aggravated vehicular homicide on February 2, 2022 and was sentenced on March 30 by County Court Judge Anthony Mole for causing the death of James Crecco, Sr., 61, on June 25, 2021.
“My heart goes out to the Crecco family, and everyone impacted by the tragedies brought about by drunk driving,” said Putnam County District Attorney Robert Tendy. “It’s a stupid and senseless thing to do. There’s no reason for it.”
According to Tendy, on the evening of June 25, 2021, Crecco was getting into his car that was parked in front of his brother’s Lake Mahopac lake house on Route 6N when Deperna struck Crecco and fled the scene. Crecco was transported to Westchester Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
An exhaustive search throughout the night for the driver conducted by the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department and Carmel Police Department led officers to Deperna’s home, where drone surveillance revealed her Jeep Cherokee hidden in the brush and trees behind her home with extensive damage to the front passenger’s side, including a missing right-side rearview mirror that had been recovered at the crash scene.
The Sheriff’s Department’s Narcotics Enforcement Unit then led an investigation to determine Deperna’s whereabouts leading up to the crash. Video surveillance, license plate reader technology, and GPS location tracking data showed that Deperna purchased alcohol from a liquor store on the morning of the accident and again approximately one hour before the incident, while driving to several places in between, including a nail salon and McDonald’s.
At approximately 7:30 p.m. on June 25, video surveillance captured Deperna consuming a margarita at a nearby restaurant before getting into her car, pulling onto 6N and swerving into oncoming traffic, almost causing a head-on collision within seconds of rounding the bend and striking Crecco.
GPS data concluded that after the crash, Deperna did not stop and drove home, where the empty bottles of wine Deperna was on video having purchased that day were recovered. She was arrested the following morning, on June 26, 2021, after a member of the Narcotics Enforcement Unit conducted a traffic stop on a rental car being driven by a still intoxicated Deperna.
Tendy praised the efforts of the Narcotics Enforcement Unit, as well as the Sheriff’s Department and Carmel Police.
“Everybody collaborated so professionally on this case. From the Sheriff’s office, the Carmel PD, Assistant District Attorneys Joseph Charbonneau and Breanne Smith, and the Crecco family — it was a tremendous effort,” Tendy said.
Rick has more than 40 years’ experience covering local news in Westchester and Putnam counties, running the gamut from politics and crime to sports and human interest. He has been an editor at Examiner Media since 2012. Read more from Rick’s editor-author bio here. Read Rick’s work here: https://www.theexaminernews.com/author/pezzullo_rick-writer/