Nun charged with DWI after losing control of car and hitting tree

By Calvin Palmer

A New York nun was freed from jail today after being charged with alcohol-related driving offenses.

Sister Lauren M. Hanley, 68, of Wantagh, lost control of her car and hit a tree on Tuesday evening after leaving work at St Frances de Chantal Church.

Police officers called to the scene detected the smell of alcohol on her breath, her speech was slurred and she had bloodshot eyes, said Det Sgt Anthony Repalone.

The car Hanley was driving belonged to the church. On the back seat, officers found a small plastic water bottle containing alcohol.

Her blood alcohol level when she was arrested was 0.18.

She has been charged with two misdemeanors, driving while intoxicated and aggravated driving while intoxicated, and one infraction for driving an uninspected vehicle,

Mary Lyons, whose home is near to the scene of the accident said her three grandchildren were playing ball outside before Hanley came speeding through the neighborhood.

“She came flying past the house,” Lyons said, “and apparently went up on the curb or something, and then she just lost control of the wheel. She didn’t know what the heck she was doing.”

Sean Dolan, a spokesman for the diocese, said in a statement today: “Hanley’s work and ministry has touched many people and has inspired many into greater service to the church.

“During this very difficult moment we pray that the Lord give her strength to endure this difficult time so that she may continue to be of service to her congregation, the Sisters of St. Joseph and the Catholic Church of Long Island.”

Hanley has no previous DWI convictions. She is due to appear in court tomorrow.

[Based on a report by Newsday.com.]

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