WESTERLY — A Ledward Avenue resident is facing DUI and drug charges after the police said she caused a Sunday evening crash along Route 1.
The woman, 43-year-old Dana E. Centolella, turned herself in to Westerly police Tuesday and was arraigned in Fourth Division District Court on charges of driving under the influence, third or subsequent offense, reckless driving and two counts of possession of a controlled substance. She did not enter a plea during the hearing and was later released on a $10,000 surety bond, according to Rhode Island judicial records.
The police said the charges stem from a crash that occurred around 7:15 p.m. at the intersection of Post Road and Robin Hollow Road. The police said an investigation determined that while two cars were stopped at a red light, Centolella was driving south along Route 1 in the left lane at a high rate of speed in her 2011 Nissan Altima.
As she approached the intersection, a police report said she swerved suddenly into the right travel lane, striking the rear trunk area of a 2010 Honda Accord driven by a 39-year-old New Haven woman. The impact caused the Accord to spin and Centolella’s Altima to roll over completely, striking all sides before coming to a rest on its wheels.
The victim and her 7-year-old daughter, who was secured in a booster seat in the rear passenger section of the car, were taken to Westerly Hospital by ambulance as a precaution, but did not suffer serious injuries. The police said Centolella, who was shaken up and had a hard time talking with officers, was taken to Rhode Island Hospital but was later released and was also not seriously injured.
“Everyone was wearing their seat belts in this case, or this could have been a lot worse,” Lacey said. “Due to the angle of impact, none of the airbags deployed, so this was the best result we could have hoped for.”
The police spoke with witnesses, including the victim, who said she had been following Centolella along Route 1 since Charlestown and had kept her distance because Centolella “was all over the road” and swerving in and out of lanes inexplicably. They approached a green light at the intersection of Wagner Road and Post Road, at which time Centolella stopped in the middle of the roadway and remained stopped as if the light were red.
The police said the victim carefully drove around and continued on her way, with Centolella remaining at the light. While stopped at the intersection with Robin Hollow Road, the witness and the driver in the left lane each told police Centolella approached, swerved and caused the crash.
In speaking with Centolella, she indicated she had been celebrating with a friend in Narragansett and was on her way home. She said she remembered only swerving to try and avoid impact with another car, but could not provide any details.
During the investigation, police discovered that Centolella was in possession of 21 strips of Suboxone and a Xanax pill that she did not have a prescription for. She also had six additional loose pills, but the police said no charges were filed because it was determined that she did have a prescription for those.
According to court records, Centolella is due in Washington County Superior Court for a felony screening in May.