Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation

Press Release

July 14, 2010

Eileen Larrabee
Dan Keefe

Three Leandra’s Law Arrests Cap July Crackdown in State Parks

The New York State Park Police today announced the results of the July 4th traffic safety crackdown that took place June 20 – July 5, 2010. Three arrests for the Leandra's Law statute are at the top of the aggressive enforcement results, which targeted drunk or drug impaired drivers, speeding, and other dangerous driving actions.

"The results of the State Park Police July 4th traffic safety campaign are a clear indicator that some people still haven't gotten the message – alcohol or drugs don't mix with driving. But, the State Park Police will continue to conduct aggressive enforcement campaigns to help make sure they do get the message," said Chief Richard O'Donnell, Director of Law Enforcement for the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.

"Not only are impaired drivers putting themselves at risk, in some cases they are putting their own children in imminent risk of serious injury or death. In three separate cases during this campaign, our officers removed an eight year old, a three year old, and five children between the ages of 3 and 10 from vehicles when the drivers were arrested for the new felony crime of operating a motor vehicle with a child of less than 15 years old in the vehicle, commonly called Leandra's Law." said Chief O'Donnell.

Leandra's Law is a New York State law making it an automatic felony on the first offense to drive drunk with a person under the age of 15 inside the vehicle. In addition to the Leandra's Law charges, officers filed:

  • 50 additional driving while intoxicated charges, six of which were felony charges;
  • 53 other alcohol-related charges, including underage possession or consumption, open containers in motor vehicles, and other violations of State Parks alcoholic beverage regulations;
  • 88 speeding violations;
  • 134 seatbelt violations, 52 of which were children not properly restrained in vehicles.

"We believe that an aggressive enforcement of traffic regulations helps to keep our State Parks, roadways, and neighborhoods safe," said Chief O'Donnell. "During this enforcement period, we had zero fatal motor vehicle accidents, and only six personal injury accidents."

Along with the traffic safety campaign, State Park Police officers filed 67 charges for possession or sale of marijuana or controlled substances, and also took an active boating safety enforcement posture, filing four boating while intoxicated charges, and 10 charges for lack of Personal Floatation Devices (PFDs).

"Regardless of how you choose to enjoy New York's State Parks this summer, do so safely, by avoiding impaired driving or operation of a vessel; we will continue to aggressively pursue those how haven't gotten the message, and you will be arrested," said Chief O'Donnell.

The New York State Park Police conduct these enforcement efforts in cooperation with other law enforcement organizations, the Governor's Traffic Safety Council and the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police.