CARMEL, NEW YORK – March 31, 2022 – District Attorney Robert Tendy announced today that Mahopac resident Maggie Deperna will be spending the next 6 to 18 years in state prison for driving while drunk and fatally striking a pedestrian on June 25, 2021.
Deperna plead guilty to Aggravated Vehicular Homicide on February 2, 2022, and was sentenced on March 30, 2022, by County Court Judge Anthony Molé to a maximum of 18 years and a minimum of 6 years in state prison for causing the death of James Crecco, Sr.
On the evening of June 25th, James “Jimmy” Crecco, Sr. was getting into his car that was parked in front of his brother’s Lake Mahopac lake house on Route 6N when Deperna struck Crecco with her vehicle and fled the scene. Crecco was transported to Westchester Medical Center where he was pronounced dead. An exhaustive search throughout the night for the driver conducted by members of the Putnam County Sheriff’s Department and the Carmel Police Department led them to Deperna’s home, where drone surveillance revealed her Jeep Cherokee hidden in the brush and trees behind her home with extensive damage to the front passenger’s side consistent with having struck a person. Specifically, her vehicle was missing the right-side rear-view mirror that had been recovered at the crash scene.
Putnam County District Attorney
Members of law enforcement, led by the Sheriff’s Department’s Narcotics Enforcement Unit (NEU), searched tirelessly through the night and days immediately following the incident to determine Deperna’s whereabouts leading up to the fatal crash. Video surveillance, license plate reader technology, and GPS location tracking data revealed that Deperna purchased alcohol from a liquor store on the morning of the crash and again approximately an hour before the crash on June 25th, while driving to several places in between including a nail salon and McDonalds. At approximately 7:30 PM, video surveillance showed Deperna consuming a margarita at a nearby restaurant before getting into her car, pulling onto 6N, and swerving into oncoming traffic, almost causing a head- on collision with another driver, within seconds of turning the bend and striking Crecco. GPS data concluded that after the crash, Deperna did not stop and drove directly home, where the empty bottles of wine that Deperna was on video having purchased that day were later recovered. Deperna was arrested the following morning, on June 26, 2021, after a member of NEU conducted a traffic stop on a rental car being driven by a still-intoxicated Deperna.
This case was prosecuted by Assistant District Attorneys Joseph Charbonneau and Breanne Smith. DA Tendy commended the members of the Sheriff’s Department’s Narcotics Enforcement Unit for their exhaustive efforts in tracking down the vehicle involved, and praised their use of all forms of available technology, as well as the overwhelming amount of manpower, used to make an arrest and bring closure to this case. He also praised the cooperative efforts of the Sheriff’s Department and the Carmel Police Department.
“Everybody collaborated so professionally on this case. From the Sheriff’s office, the Carmel PD, ADA Charbonneau and Smith, and the Crecco family–It was a tremendous effort,” Tendy said. “My heart goes out to the Crecco family—and everyone impacted by the tragedies brought about by drunk driving. It’s a stupid and senseless thing to do. There’s no reason for it.”