Update: Police Say Teen Driver was on Drugs in Fatal NYE Crash

A 63-year-old Commack woman was killed Tuesday in a crash near the Commack Public Library.

James Murphy, 19, was charged with DWI Dec.  31, 2013 after police say he hit and killed another driver. Credit:SCPD.
James Murphy, 19, was charged with DWI Dec. 31, 2013 after police say he hit and killed another driver. Credit:SCPD.
Police said a Huntington teen was on drugs when he crashed twice and killed another driver, a 63-year-old Commack woman, on Commack Road Tuesday.

According to police James Murphy, 19, of Huntington, was driving a 1998 Chevrolet Blazer north on Commack Road at about 3:25 p.m. on New Year's Eve when he sideswiped a Mercedes just before New Highway, near the Commack Public Library. The driver of the Mercedes, Andrea Linton-Parkes, 50, of Dix Hills, was not injured, according to the report. Right after, at the intersection, Murphy was said to have broadsided a Hyundai sedan driven by Herta Palma, 63, of Commack. Palma was taken to Huntington Hospital where she was pronounced dead shortly after 4 p.m., police said in the report.

Police shut down Commack Road between Delaware Avenue and Wicks Road until 9 p.m. Tuesday to conduct their investigation.

Murphy and his passenger suffered minor injuries and were treated at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown.

The 19-year-old was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs. Anyone with information should call the vehicular crimes unit at 631-852-6555.

*This article originally stated that James Murphy was charged with DWI. He was charged with DWAI.

Grace Jones January 01, 2014 at 07:42 AM
What a shame Hope this drunk gets several years in jail
Paul L. January 01, 2014 at 09:15 AM
Such tragedy caused by a stupid decision to drink and drive.
Kelly Ann Humphrey-Horsham January 01, 2014 at 09:32 AM
Why is it the drunkard NEVER seems to die in crashes?
CommackParent January 01, 2014 at 10:12 AM
So sad for the family of Herta Palma. I hope that teen gets what he deservse absolutly no excuse!!!!
Ritabee January 01, 2014 at 10:52 AM
So sad:O( RIP . Prayers go out to her family and friends.
Elby January 01, 2014 at 12:44 PM
He should never be allowed to drive again nor drink again. Never gonna happen though. My thoughts go out to Herta's family.
Scott Halvorsen January 01, 2014 at 02:52 PM
Marijuana said to be involved also..
Dom January 01, 2014 at 03:19 PM
For this type of crime the penalty needs to be 20 yrs to life.
Commackvoter January 01, 2014 at 03:22 PM
I worked with Herta for a number of years a few years ago. She was a wonderful lady and did not deserve to have her life cut short by some wasted a-hole. This guy needs to do serious time and not get a slap on the wrist as if it were an accident. RIP Herta.
Larry Nosker January 01, 2014 at 05:34 PM
This young man should only see the age of 63 from behind bars. He took it upon himself to deliberately deprive this woman of her life and family. I say deliberately because at 19 he knew better than to drive while impaired and unless he was hearing impaired or blind he was well aware of what would happen if he drove impaired. So he made conscious decision to take someones life and was prepared for the resulting charges. Although I truly believe he should lose his life as he took one with the knowledge that that could happen if he broke the law which he did deliberately.
jpyz250 January 01, 2014 at 08:26 PM
For those of you that did not know her she was an amazing person amazing mother and an amazing wife is such a shame that a 19-year-old could take that away from us please pray for our family we love to actually
PegLeg January 02, 2014 at 02:23 PM
A big part of the reason for the crash which came out is that he was looking at his phone right before the crash. Just a terrible tragedy on all sides. No matter how long you lock him up it won't bring back the poor woman. But there are lots of people out there driving drunk, on drugs and even more texting while driving. None of them ever mean to kill anyone. All of those drug abusers, drunks and texters have just as much potential to kill someone but they never think it can be them. I am sure most are decent people who don't want to kill someone. We need to revoke licenses more readily and then when people are caught with revoked licenses, they need to be locked up to ensure they won't continue to drive.
Tara Faye January 06, 2014 at 02:05 AM
This is terrible & my heart goes out to this poor woman who didn't deserve this. Yes, it was a stupid stupid choice to get behind the wheel but millions of people get behind the wheel impaired daily & are lucky this doesn't happen to them. Addiction & alcoholism is a sickness. He's my baby cousin & to see people sit and wish death on him cause of this is just as sick as him getting behind the wheel and having this occur. It's VERY sad, my heartaches for her & her family & I can only hope God is comforting them in their time of need. But he has a great heart & someone very special to me who made a bad life changing choice.


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