July 16, 2019 05:29 PM
GATES, N.Y. (WHEC) — The driver accused of running over two young children in a parking lot on Lyell Avenue is facing new charges after police say she was taking a picture and video at the time of the accident.
Letoya Palmo, 29, pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two counts of felony assault and two counts of reckless endangerment. If convicted, she faces seven years in prison.
The accident happened along Lyell Avenue in Gates around 7 p.m. July 11. Surveillance video obtained by News10NBC shows the dad pulling his two small children in a wagon through the parking lot of the plaza just seconds before the impact. The wagon was dragged about 50 feet back into the same parking lot.
The children remain in critical condition at Strong Memorial Hospital. The 2-year-old girl suffered a bruised liver, pancreas, adrenal glands and lungs and a fractured spine. The 10-month-old boy suffered a serious skull fracture and fractured ribs among other injuries.
Gates Police say a forensic examination of Palmo's cellphone revealed she was taking a picture and video at the time of the accident. She allegedly was taking a video of a "For Rent" sign on the corner of Lyell Avenue and Rossmore Street.
According to the felony complaint obtained by News10NBC, Palmo allegedly hit the gas instead of the brake after hitting the wagon and subsequently admitted the brakes on the car were extremely bad and didn’t always work.
During her initial interview with police the night of the crash, Palmo told officers her two unrestrained children in the backseat were arguing. She had turned around to yell at them, and when she turned back around, she swerved to avoid hitting a pole. Instead, she jumped the curb and hit the wagon.
Palmo had initially been charged with reckless driving, failing to secure her children properly in car seats, and driving an uninspected car.
She was sobbing and nearly collapsed in court Tuesday, repeatedly saying, "I'm sorry. I'm so sorry."
Palmo was remanded to the Monroe County Jail with bail set at $10,000 cash or $40,000 bond. She's due back in court on July 22 at 10:30 a.m.
The Gates Police Department has set up a fund for the family of the two children who were injured. Donations can be sent to Gates Chili Community Connections at 1605 Buffalo Rd. Rochester, NY 14624. This is a nonprofit organization and checks should be written to Gates Chili Community Connections.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.
Updated: July 16, 2019 05:29 PM
Created: July 16, 2019 12:52 PM
Copyright 2019 - WHEC-TV, LLC A Hubbard Broadcasting Company