A Flushing man once heralded for heroically saving another man who fell in the path of a subway train was arrested on drug charges late Friday night after a passenger leapt out of the front seat of his car and died, police said.
Authorities said Judy Buccheri, a 41−year−old mother of four from Valley Stream, L.I., died when she inexplicably jumped out of the front seat of an SUV being driven by 46−year−old Sandy Levine shortly before 11:30 p.m. near the intersection of 164th Street and Booth Memorial Avenue Friday night.
Levine, a former transit worker who was awarded a Carnegie medal in 1994 for saving a straphanger who had passed out on the tracks near Madison Square Garden, stayed at the scene of the accident and was charged with criminal possession of marijuana after police allegedly found more than a pound of the drug in the back seat of his car, according to authorities.
Police said they were unsure what prompted Buccheri to jump out of the front seat of Levine’s 2003 GMC truck as he drove down 164th Street, but EMS officials responded to the scene and pronounced her dead on their arrival.
Buccheri worked as a bartender at Callaghan’s Eatery and Ale House on Parson’s Boulevard in Flushing, but a man who answered the phone at the eatery only confirmed that she had been an employee there and declined to comment further. The New York Post reported that a bartender at Callaghan’s who served Buccheri after her shift said she had several drinks with Levine and took away her car keys before she left in his SUV.
Levine, who police said had bloodshot eyes and registered a .058 on an Intoxilyzer breath test when they arrived at the scene of the accident, was also charged with operating a motor vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The legal limit in New York state for an Intoxilyzer test — which measures alcohol levels in the blood — is .08.
A call to Buccheri’s reported husband, Thomas Buccheri, was not returned for comment.
Levine, of 67−15 Parsons Blvd., was arraigned Saturday in Queens Criminal Court in Kew Gardens.
Reach reporter Stephen Stirling by e−mail at sstirling@
©2009 Community News Group
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