Wrong-Way driver charged in New York

New York (July 24, 2011)  A woman driving the wrong-way on Interstate 95 killed a passenger in another vehicle in a violent head-on collision.  The fatal crash happened at 4:33 a.m. in the southbound lanes of I-95 about a half mile before the New Rochelle toll plaza.  According to New York State Police, Tanisha Gomez, was driving a 2011 Chevrolet HHR minivan north in the southbound lanes.  Police tried unsuccessfully to stop her vehicle from the northbound lanes, after receiving numerous reports about a wrong-way driver.

Gomez slammed head-on into a Nissan, driven by Mark Toppin. Firefighters had to cut Mark Toppin, and his passenger, Reginald Lee, from the mangled Nissan.  The passenger in the Nissan, Reginald Lee was pronounced dead at the scene.  Mark Toppin and Tanisha Gomez were taken by ambulance to Jacobi Medical Center with serious injuries.  Two of the southbound lanes were closed for four hours as New York State Police investigated the scene.  Police intend to take blood samples from Tanisha Gomez, Criminal charges are pending.  All lanes of Interstate 95 were reopened at 8 a.m.

According to the WSJ In a complaint filed Monday, Tanisha Gomez has been charged with second-degree manslaughter and  “in an intoxicated condition” when her Chevrolet HHR minivan slammed into a Nissan, killing Reginald Lee.  The second-degree manslaughter charge is a class “C” felony.  If convicted, Tanisha Gomez faces  a maximum sentence of 15 years in state prison.

Reginald Lee, 29 , an immigrant of Barbados, was returning from Connecticut after visiting with friends when he was tragically killed.

Update:  Tanisha Gomez has been charged with aggravated vehicular homicide, she is due in court on October 18.

18 Thoughts on “Wrong-Way driver charged in New York

  1. RIKKI on July 24, 2011 at 4:50 pm said:

    OMG..I KNOW MARK!!! MY PRAYERS ARE WITH HIM AND HIS FAMILY….

  2. Was taking my to LGA this morning when that woman came down our lane. Was really scary. Prayers go out to Reginald; it could have been us.

  3. Was taking my sister to LGA this morning when that woman came down our lane. Was really scary. Prayers go out to Reginald; it could have been us.

    • toni on July 27, 2011 at 9:33 pm said:

      I dont know either victim, but my prayers go out to them & their family, as I was one of the 911 caller that morning when she almost ran into me as well!

  4. reece on July 25, 2011 at 9:22 am said:

    is this marc from barbados?

  5. RIKKI on July 26, 2011 at 9:39 am said:

    yea.. he from Barbados.

  6. Doris Tucker on July 26, 2011 at 7:16 pm said:

    His smile and his kindness will not be forgotten, the familys are in my prayers

  7. Doris Tucker on July 26, 2011 at 7:17 pm said:

    Will never be forgotten

  8. My prayers go out to the lee family. He definitely is gone too soon. Heaven gained an angel. I am a friend of tanisha the driver and can’t imagine why things turned out this way. She is strong hard working female who has ever been in trouble. Very caring. Assisted in charities helped others barely went out and cared for her family. Never in a milion years would I picture her making a mistake like this. She was always so cautious with everything she did. Lord knows the thoughts in her mind while this was happening. But no one knows. Hating her will not change the situation. This could have happened to anyone. My prayers go out to both families. They have both lost some one dear to him. Only lee will be in heaven while tanisha will be on earth facing time in jail and most likely lose her sanity entirely for being the cause of such a horrific accident. I hope people can forgive her. She isn’t a bad person. God bless you all.

  9. I am so sorry for the loss of Reginald and I too have lost a family member to a car accident. I am also a friend of Tanisha’s and have known her family since before she was born. They are good people who have recently lost 2 family members in a car accident (both dying in the same accident) as well. They know what it’s like and they will never recover from that and now this. It’s very easy to judge and say bad things about her, yes, she made a huge mistake that ended in the death of another human being. Please consider that she too is human and will suffer the rest of her life with this, jail time or not. She is sorry, her family is in pain too, her family understands the loss of relatives from a car accident, her family will hold this pain the rest of their lives as will she. What else do you want?

    • The article above states that Ms. Gomez was in an intoxicated condition when the accident occured. Was that the same situation with the accidents that occured in your family? Did you lose a familly member because the driver was intoxicated?

  10. I have read several articles regarding this accident and I’m trying to put things together because I’m a little confused. It says that she drove for nearly six miles in the wrong direction. Just how many cars and wrong way signs did she encounter during that six mile stretch? I have read the posts listed above and I see that some people mention almost being hit by her themselves. For those familiar with that highway and for those who were almost hit by her would you say its possible for someone to drive for six miles in the wrong direction without knowing they were going the wrong way? Also, didn’t one of the articles say that the police tried to stop her? Why didn’t she stop for police?

  11. I am outraged by some of the comments posted here! A young man in his prime was killed by someone who had no respect or consideration for other HUMAN BEINGS. Were she sober, she would have realized after at least passing a couple cars going in the opposite direction, road signs not facing her, people honking etc, that she was going the wrong way…. And those trying to downplay this young man’s death, SHAME ON YOU! There are consequeces to every action and there is an alcohol limit for this reason – to avoid tragedies, and unnecessary grief. Justice needs to be served and a message sent out this recklessness will not be accepted.

    • I agree with Ms. Nancy. It’s for that very reason why I posted what I did previously. How could anyone drive for six miles and not know what direction they were going in? I really really want to know… Because if she wasn’t under the influence of something and was in her right frame of mind there had to have been something to tip her off that she was headed the wrong direction right? I say this because, where I live, if you head in the wrong direction there are huge signs usually on both sides of the road in white and red saying “wrong way”.

      Several of you posted previously that she almost hit you while you were driving. Couldn’t she see your head lights? Didn’t you honk at her? Weren’t there wrong way signs? If she wasn’t under the influence of drugs or alcohol I’m curious to know what her frame of mind was to drive six miles completely and totally unaware of her direction and the drivers who had to swerve out of her way to avoid getting hit. Also once again, why didn’t she stop for the police?

      Lastly, previous postings made mention of losing a loved one in a car accident and have tried to equate the two situations as being one and the same. Everyone would do well to recognize the difference between losing someone in a car accident and losing someone in a car accident caused by a driver “in an intoxicated condition” as stipulated in the article above.

      I think to equate the two is a mistake and wholly incorrect and yes even unfair.

  12. Jordan R on August 16, 2011 at 7:58 pm said:

    I am very pleased with the coverage you have provided the community with the crash
    on I95 which occurred on July 24th that ended in the death of a young man named
    Reginald Lee. I feel that it is very important that the family of Mr. Toppin and Mr. Lee
    are being kept well informed. I personally believe that not enough coverage is being
    made to the public on such a horrific accident and the fact that the young lady drove 6.4 miles in the wrong direction should be further explored…where was she going? where
    was she coming from? Most importantly, was she intoxicated?? The DA is charging
    her on the grounds of intoxication yet her lawyer is disputing it because they say there
    are no official toxicology reports…How are there no official toxicology reports made
    available to the public? When Diane Schuler wrecked her vehicle going the wrong way
    for only 1.7 miles it (toxicology report) was televised FIVE days later…in regards to
    the accident on July 24th…it has been over 3 WEEKS…and I ask myself…where are
    the toxicology reports for that young girl who drove 6.4 miles in the wrong direction??
    While people who were driving their siblings to the airport that early morning as well as people calling 911 were swirling out of her way to avoid getting hit, as well as officers on the northbound traffic flashing their lights; trying to stop her…sounds like a heavily intoxicated person to me…yet NO toxicology reports. It’s a shame…and it’s a shame the witnesses to the accident haven’t been interviewed…it would be very interesting to hear THEIR side of the story.

    • Amicus Voice on August 16, 2011 at 11:21 pm said:

      Jordan, Thank you very much for the compliment. We are a small group of unpaid individuals who run the site. Our hope is that we can bring awareness to the frequency and dangers of motor vehicle accidents. If the stories posted here result in one more person deciding to buckle his/her seatbelt, or one less person gets behind the wheel while under the influence, then that would be the ultimate paycheck!

    • You bring up some very good questions. I would be curious to find out the results of the toxicology reports myself.

  13. What about her past driving record? Has anyone come across anything in any of the articles they’ve read? I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere. Has she driven under the influence before? Or was this the first time?

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