James Murphy
James Murphy

A teenager has been accused of driving while high on drugs after being involved in a crash that killed a 63-year-old woman in the victim’s hometown of Commack on New Year’s Eve.

Suffolk County police said James Murphy was driving a Chevrolet Blazer northbound on Commack Road when his vehicle sideswiped a Mercedes and then struck a westbound Hyundai at the intersection of Hauppauge Road at 3:25 p.m. Tuesday.

The woman driving the Hyundai, Herta Palma, was taken to Huntington Hospital, where she was pronounced dead. The woman driving the Mercedes was not hurt.

Murphy and a woman in his passenger seat were taken to St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Smithtown, where they were treated for minor injuries.

Murphy was charged with driving while ability impaired by drugs. His bail was set at $450,000 bond or $150,000 cash. He is due back in court Monday.


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Timothy Bolger is the Managing Editor for the Long Island Press who’s been working to uncover unreported stories since shortly after it launched in 2003. When he’s not editing, getting hassled by The Man or fielding cold calls to the newsroom, he covers crime, general interest and political news in addition to reporting longer, sometimes investigative features. He won’t be happy until everyone is as pissed off as he is about how screwed up Lawn Guyland is.