A Long Island mother was arraigned Monday on attempted murder charges from an October incident in which she allegedly twice ran over a teen she believed had robbed her son.
An attorney for 35-year-old Jennifer Nelson, however, told the New York Post that Suffolk County District Attorney Raymond Tierney had the story completely wrong and that the 15-year-old boy — who suffered multiple fractures to his pelvis, six fractured ribs, a punctured lung, and multiple bruises and abrasions — was injured “after striking Ms. Nelson’s car” in an incident unrelated to her son’s robbery.
Tierney said in a statement on Monday that Nelson drove to a Dunkin’ Donuts parking lot, across the street from William Floyd High School in Mastic Beach, after learning that a group of teens were assaulting her son, and confronted the group with a knife and a small bat. The victim walked away and into the parking lot of a bagel shop across the street, but Nelson got back into her car and followed him, prosecutors said.
According to WNBC, Nelson drove across the street at high speed, directly at the teen. She drove into the boy, knocking him to the ground, then “proceeded to drive over the victim, up onto a curb, reversed, drove over the victim again,” authorities said, according to the Post.
Nelson fled the scene and later that evening, traded in her leased Honda Passport for a newer model, despite the lease not being over, WNBC said.
“This defendant — an adult — allegedly thought she could take the law into her own hands to kill a 15-year-old in the process,” Tierney said in a statement Monday.
“This defendant’s incredibly misguided attempt to avenge the alleged victimization of her own child is no excuse,” he said. “Citizens cannot take the law into their own hands, and should instead work with law enforcement and my office to seek justice in every case.”
Two arrests were later made in the robbery of Nelson’s son; the victim was not one of them, according to the Post.
But Nelson’s lawyer, Paul D’Emilia, said her son had been a frequent victim of bullying and that the prosecution’s narrative was “unfortunate and misleading.” The account “attempted to conflate two separate events that day as one continuous occurrence,” he said in a statement to the Post.
“Ms. Nelson received a frantic telephone call from her son who was, once again, being bullied and physically assaulted in the parking lot outside William Floyd High School,” D’Emilia said. “She found him shoeless and surrounded by tormentors when she drove up a few minutes later.
“After fending off her son’s attackers, she drove to both the junior high school as well as the senior high school to report the incident and also try to retrieve her son’s sneakers.”
Two hours later, E’Emilia said, Nelson encountered “a group of males … running through the streets” while driving her son home.
“One of the young men received injuries after striking Ms. Nelson’s car,” he said. “Ms. Nelson did not see nor recognize the young man who was injured.”
Nelson was “completely taken by surprise” when the victim ran toward her car, D’Emilia said, adding that the victim, despite his numerous, serious injuries, “ran off after the incident.”
In addition to the attempted murder charge, Nelson was arraigned on charges of reckless endangerment, assault, and leaving the scene of an accident that resulted in serious physical injury.
Prosecutors asked for a high bail in the case, but Supreme Court Justice Timothy Mazzei released Nelson with no bail.
She is due back in court on March 21.
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