A Winthrop woman who maimed a vacationing New York City police officer in an alleged drunken driving accident 10 years ago in Florida has now pleaded guilty to grievously injuring two Revere men, who are the sons of Ward 5 Councillor John Powers, in another drunken driving smash up that occurred in 2012.
Amanda Bizeur, 32, of Winthrop, plead guilty in Suffolk Superior Court last week to two counts of operating under the influence of alcohol and causing serious bodily injury for the crash that occurred at the intersection of American Legion Highway and Revere Street on Feb. 5, 2012.
Bizeur will serve 30 months in jail for the drunken driving crash, which has left one of Powersâ€™ sons still in the hospital. After her jail term, she will have five years of supervised probation.
â€œShe got 2 Â½ years in jail, but my son has been in the hospital for 22 months because of what she did,â€ Powers told the Journal. â€œIn all probability, heâ€™ll be there awhile longer. He just had another operation and will have another one in the near future. This whole thing is a tragedy for my boys, for their families and for this womanâ€™s family. I sincerely hope this time she takes the time to reflect and get some counseling, which she really needs.â€
Prosecutors told the court that Bizeur was going 75 mph when she blew through the stop light at Revere Street and smashed into both Powers men â€“ who were taking a left onto American Legion Highway shortly before midnight. There were no skid marks and Bizeur fled the scene despite the serious accident she caused, an accident that required removal of the men via the Jaws of Life.
It isnâ€™t the first time, though, that Bizeur has seriously injured someone with her driving.
In 2002, when she was 19, she smashed into James Doherty â€“ now 43 â€“ who was on vacation in Daytona Beach, FL and riding a motorcycle. The New York City police officer, who was taking his first break after nearly non-stop duty following Sept. 11th, saw Bizeur cut across four lanes of traffic to get to a convenience store. In the process, she ran right over Doherty, injuring his leg so badly that it had to be amputated.
Witnesses in that incident said Bizeur saw Doherty lying on the ground, and still drove off from the scene.
John Powers said that Doherty had been in touch with him and his family and was extremely disturbed by the fact that Bizeur had seriously hurt more people due to her drunken driving pattern.
â€œHe has been in contact with my daughter and he was very upset when this happened to my sons because she didnâ€™t get in much trouble when she ran over him â€“ despite the fact that he lost his leg,â€ Powers said. â€œYou would have thought that would have been a wake up call for her. Hopefully, this time will be.â€
Last week in court, Assistant District Attorney Tonya Platt of the DAâ€™s Major Felony Bureau recommended that Bizeur serve five years in state prison followed by probation; Suffolk Superior Court Judge Christine Roach imposed half that term, to be served in a House of Correction, followed by five years of probation. During those five years, she must remain drug- and alcohol-free and perform community service working with people who have suffered traumatic brain injuries.
Had the case proceeded to trial, Platt would have introduced evidence and testimony to prove that Bizeur was intoxicated as she drove a Toyota Camry northbound on American Legion Highway when she struck a white van operated by the Powers men, one who is 44 and one who is 41.
The driver, who was the older brother, was ejected from the vehicle and has been hospitalized with life-altering injuries ever since.
â€œBecause of his acute injuries, he is required to have a sitter by his side 24 hours a day, seven days a week,â€ said John Powers. â€œBecause there is a traumatic brain injury, his life will never be the same again. He enjoyed camping, hiking, canoeing, and being outdoors up north, but these are activities he will never enjoy again.â€
His brother and passenger was also critically injured, but after surgeries and with physical therapy, is now able to walk under his own power. Even today, however, he remains in pain from his injuries.
â€œTo this day, he has difficulty sleeping due to significant pain,â€ John Powers said. â€œHe is still undergoing physical therapy several times per week and he has 12 screws in his back and neck.â€
Suffolk County District Attorney Dan Conley said the Powers family has shown tremendous strength over the past year.
â€œFor all theyâ€™ve suffered over the past year and a half, this family has shown tremendous strength, dignity, and perseverance,â€ Conley said. â€œPolice, prosecutors, and victim advocates have all been deeply impressed by their grace against the backdrop of tragedy.â€
The Suffolk County State Police Detective Unit and Revere Police Department investigated the case.