Man Charged With Felony Under Leandra’s Law

Jose Montaleza-Tenesaca has been charged with a felony for having a 10-year-old child in a car he was driving drunk, according to the police. He denied the charge. Independent/T. E. McMorrow

The right to U.S. citizenship for a Springs man may ride on a blood test after he was arrested by East Hampton Town police on a felony charge accusing him of driving drunk with a child in the car Saturday night.

Jose Montaleza-Tenesaca, 32, was driving a 2003 Chevrolet Avalanche on Abraham’s Path near Town Lane on March 16 when he swerved across the double yellow lines, police said, leading to a traffic stop. Police reported his wife and 10-year-child were also passengers.

The officer had Montaleza-Tenesaca perform sobriety tests, which he allegedly failed. He was charged with drunken driving and taken to headquarters on Saturday night, where blood was drawn to test the alcohol level.

Driving while intoxicated with a child in the car is a felony under Leandra’s Law, which was passed by the legislature in New York State in 2009. It is named for Leandra Rosado, an 11-year old who was killed in an accident on the Henry Hudson Parkway in Manhattan. Carmen Huertas was drunk when she crashed while speeding, with Rosado as passenger.

Montaleza-Tenesaca was held overnight, and was arraigned in front of East Hampton Town Justice Steven Tekulsky Sunday morning. The defendant was represented by Sandra Melendez, who has a law office in East Hampton Village.

Melendez said during the arraignment that she is handling Montaleza-Tenesaca’s immigration application. Currently here on a work visa, he is in the process of becoming a naturalized citizen. All that could end if convicted of the felony charge he is now facing.

Tekulsky said during the arraignment that, while the district attorney’s office had not yet made a bail recommendation, it typically asks for at least $10,000 in similar cases. Melendez said that Montaleza-Tenesaca is a carpenter, and lives with his family in Springs.

Tekulsky set bail at $5000, and set the defendant’s return date for March 21. Bail was posted Sunday.

Rodrigo Quizhpi, 42, a Northwest Woods resident, was arrested by town police early morning, March 16, charged with DWI as a misdemeanor. They said Quizhpi was driving a 2016 Ford F-250 on Three Mile Harbor Road when he failed to signal a turn onto Fort Pond Boulevard.

After police said Quizhpi failed sobriety tests, they took him to headquarters, where a breath test produced a .13 reading, over the .08 mark that defines intoxication in New York State.

Citing his strong ties to the community, Tekulsky ordered Quizhpi released without bail later that morning.

Also facing a misdemeanor DWI charge after a town police arrest this past weekend is Sarah Collins Kelly, 41, of Brooklyn. Police said she was headed west in a 2016 Volkswagen on Montauk Highway on the Napeague Stretch after midnight Saturday when she failed to dim her headlights for an oncoming patrol car, leading to a traffic stop, and her eventual arrest. Her breath test produced a .14 reading, and she was released without bail after being arraigned Sunday morning.

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