Mexico woman charged under Leandra’s Law

Melissa J. Finch

PALERMO — A Mexico woman is facing felony drunk driving charges after police say she allegedly crashed her vehicle while transporting a child.

The Oswego County Sheriff’s Office Monday charged Melissa J. Finch, 34, of 696 County Route 16, Mexico, with two counts of aggravated driving while intoxicated stemming from a Dec. 13, 2019 incident in which Finch allegedly crashed into a ditch on a private property in Palermo.

Finch had a blood sample taken by police after the alleged incident, sheriff’s officials said, and the lapse between the incident and filing of charges was due to a delay in laboratory results.

The two charges of aggravated DWI stem from Finch’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) allegedly exceeding .18 percent and the child allegedly present in the vehicle while Finch drove.

Aggravated DWI with a child passenger is also commonly known as Leandra’s Law in New York. The law, enacted in 2010, assesses harsher penalties for adults who drive impaired with children in their care. Eleven-year-old Leandra Rosado was killed on Manhattan’s Henry Hudson Parkway when the driver, a friend of Rosado’s mother, was driving under the influence and crashed.

First-time offenders driving while intoxicated (.08 blood alcohol content or more) or impaired by drugs while a child younger than 16 in the vehicle may be charged with a Class E felony punishable by up to four years in state prison, according to the state division of criminal justice.

Officials did not comment on the exact age of the child, or his or her relationship to Finch.

Finch was arraigned in CAP Court and is scheduled to answer the charges Friday in Palermo Town Court.

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