SMITHTOWN, LONG ISLAND, NY -- Police said the father of a 4-year-old boy abandoned him and fled arresting officers after the man he was riding with got pulled over for driving under the influence of drugs.
Police said Benjamin Laudonio, 26, of Stony Brook, was driving a 1995 Lincoln sedan at 11:40 a.m. when he crossed over the center divider line on Route 25 in Smithtown. When Laudonio was pulled over by an officer, the passenger of the car, Paul Lucente, 30, of Kings Park, fled the scene with his child still in the back seat. An investigation revealed that Laudonio was under the influence of drugs, police said.
Lucente was later found by police and arrested on endangering the welfare of a child and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance charges.
Laudonio was arrested on five separate charges – operating a motor vehicle impaired by drugs, aggravated DWI with a child less than 16-years-old – which is a felony under Leandra’s Law, third-degree aggravated unlicensed operation, endangering the welfare of a child and seventh-degree criminal possession of a controlled substance.
Lucente was one of 24 from Smithtown who was arrested in a heroin bust, dubbed "Operation Heroin Highway", a year long investigation conducted by the Queens District Attorney's office. Lucente was arrested in December of 2011 and officials announced the results of the operation in January. In all, officers seized more than 8,000 glassine envelopes of heroin, more than five kilograms of heroin, 2.7 kilograms of cocaine and five pistols, a shotgun and an assault rifle.
The boy’s mother, Brittney Williams, also of Kings Park, was seriously injured back in December when she was struck by a car on St. Johnland Road. Friends reported in January that Williams was on a slow road to recovery. A bake sale was held for Williams that same month, to help fray medical and child care costs.