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Teen In Yorktown Crash Wakes From Coma, Father Says

Cortlandt resident  Arielle Szalkowski has been charged with two first-degree felony counts of Vehicular Assault and an aggravated misdemeanor charge of Driving While Intoxicated, Yorktown Police said.
Cortlandt resident Arielle Szalkowski has been charged with two first-degree felony counts of Vehicular Assault and an aggravated misdemeanor charge of Driving While Intoxicated, Yorktown Police said. Photo Credit: Courtesy Yorktown Police Department
The Yorktown teen who suffered severe injuries in a crash on July 9 has awakened from a medically-induced coma while the other driver has received felony charges for aggravated assault, Yorktown Police said.
The Yorktown teen who suffered severe injuries in a crash on July 9 has awakened from a medically-induced coma while the other driver has received felony charges for aggravated assault, Yorktown Police said. Photo Credit: File

Updated at 4 p.m. July 18 with photo of Szalkowski

YORKTOWN, N.Y. -- A Yorktown teen who suffered severe injuries in a crash on July 9 on Crompond Road has awakened from his medically-induced coma, the teen's father said Wednesday.

Christopher Starace, 18, of Yorktown, was injured in a two-vehicle crash on Crompond Road near Pine Grove Court in Yorktown, police said in a press release. Starace was involved in the head-on collision with 22-year-old Cortlandt resident Arielle Szalkowski, who was later charged with two first-degree felony counts of Vehicular Assault and an aggravated misdemeanor charge of Driving While Intoxicated after blowing a BAC of .18 percent, police said in the release.

Szalkowski was treated and released from Westchester Medical Center and has been remanded to Westchester County Department of Corrections for a later court date. Starace suffered severe injuries in the crash, despite wearing his seatbelt, said father Steven Starace Wednesday.

Christopher was in a medically-induced coma for five days following the crash and was in deep sedation because of "severe head trauma and bleeding of the brain," Steven told The Daily Voice Wednesday.

"He also has severe facial cuts and his lower jaw is broken but they've taken the paralytic off and he's now moving his arms and legs which is obviously a good sign," Steven said. "He can't talk and his jaw is wired shut but he's awake."

Steven added that there is no prognosis for his recovery at this point.

"With brain trauma they don't know, which makes us very anxious," he said. "We just have to take it day by day. We can't really tell if he'll have problems talking or walking. We just don't know right now."

The Westchester County District Attorney's Office, Yorktown Police and Westchester County Police are still piecing together the accident, Steven said, but he was told by authorities that Szalkowski had received a previous DWI.

"That's frustrating for us knowing that someone had a prior arrest and accident, had her license suspended and then six months after having it reinstated she's involved in another one," Steven said, adding that he hasn't thought much of the court case. "At this point, our entire focus is on Christopher."

Szalkowski's cash bail was set at $15,000 with a $30,000 bond. She is due back in court at 6 p.m. July 23, Yorktown Police said in the release.

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