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Medford Woman Pleads Not Guilty to Vehicular Manslaughter

Elizabeth Peacock had Xanax and "a multitude of other drugs" in her system at time of fatal New Year's Eve crash, officials say.

A Medford woman accused of driving on drugs pleaded not guilty Monday to vehicular manslaughter related to a fatal New Year's Eve on Horseblock Road. 

Elizabeth Peacock, 45, struck a mother and daughter who were standing behind a car parked on the shoulder of the road, near Maine Avenue, on the evening of Dec. 31. 

The daughter, 40-year-old Maria Galeas, was helping her mother load laundry into a Honda Accord when Peacock's Nissan Altima struck them. The impact severed the legs of the daughter and she was thrown into the roadway, prosecutors said in court Monday. The younger Galeas, who had two children of her own, later died at the hospital.

A toxicology report showed that Peacock had the anti-anxiety drug Xanax as well as "a multitude of other drugs" in her system at the time of the crash, officials said.

Peacock, dressed in green prison garb in court, mouthed to her attorney, "What happened?" as Judge James Doyle discussed the upgraded felony charges against her. 

A grand jury indicted Peacock last week on charges of first degree vehicular manslaughter, a class C felony punishable by up to 15 years in prison, second degree vehicular manslaughter and driving while ability impaired by drugs. Peacock was convicted of driving while intoxicated in 2004, prosecutors said.

While Peacock was being arraigned, Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota held a press conference a few floors above the courtroom to detail the new charges against Peacock, as well as those against a Ronkonkoma man of driving on drugs and causing a crash that killed a West Islip boy.

Investigators found a prescription bottle of Xanax during a search of Peacock's Medford residence, Spota said.

The prescription, written on Dec. 15, was for 120 tablets to be taken 4 times per day--a 30-day supply--Spota said.

On the day of the accident, "16 days after the prescription was filled--there should have been 56 Xanax left--but on the day the bottle was recovered, only 23 remained," Spota said.

"They got into that car, they were using drugs very, very clearly and they just didn't care," Spota said during a press conference, also referring to Steven Kinalis, the man accused in the crash that killed 5-year-old John Gaffney.

Peacock remains held in jail on $150,000 cash bail. She will be in court next on Feb. 28.

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