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9-year-old DWI victim out of ICU, recovering at home with family

Posted at 2:59 PM, Jul 23, 2019

EAST AURORA, N.Y. (WKBW) — The East Aurora woman charged with driving drunk and hitting a nine-year-old girl riding her scooter on the sidewalk has lost her license to drive pending the outcome of her case.

East Aurora Town Judge Jeffrey Markello revoked the license of Erin Kuntz Tuesday afternoon. Markello is the same judge who allowed Kuntz to keep her license following her arraignment on charges of vehicular assault, DWI, possession of marijuana, refusal to take a breath test, driving a motor vehicle on the sidewalk, and failure to use designated lane.

Judge Markello called his initial decision allowing Kuntz to keep her license an error. On Monday morning - less than a day after the crash on Main Street in the village that seriously injured the young girl from Cheektowaga - 7 Eyewitness News Reporter Ali Touhey captured Kuntz driving away from her home.

The girl has been identified by family members as nine-year-old Lily, her mother tells 7 Eyewitness News she is now out of the ICU and home recovering and relaxing with family.

"The sound was like a big thump, a grinding and then a thump," said Patrick Paluszynski who is Lily's uncle. Paluszysnki was picking up toys in the yard following a birthday party when the accident happened. He says his son was also clipped by Kuntz, who had driven up on the sidewalk. His son Alex was checked out and is okay.

"I mean she hit two kids, and it could have been a lot worse because 15 minutes earlier, all these kids were up there and all playing on the sidewalk. It could have been 100 times worse," he said.

Paluszysnki says Lily has a long road of recovery ahead. She is still in critical condition at Oishei Children's Hospital, but is showing signs of improvement according to the family.

The girl suffered a collapsed lung, broken collarbone, broken rib, and other injuries to her arms and legs, according to court documents obtained by 7 Eyewitness News.

Documents obtained Tuesday morning by the 7 Eyewitness News I-Team show Kuntz admitted to police she consumed alcohol before driving. While police say she refused a breathalyzer test at the scene, police did conduct field sobriety tests and report she failed all of them. In addition, police said she had a marijuana pill in a bottle in her possession.

Kuntz waived her right to a felony hearing. The case now goes before a grand jury.

She was released on her own recognizance.