Driver in Queens Crash Arraigned, Found With Crack Pipe: Cops

She says she found it in hospital

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCNewYork

    Police found a crack pipe in the purse of the Queens driver who was charged and hospitalized after she crashed a minivan packed with five un-belted foster kids into another car.

    The driver, Sheila Bethea, told police she found the pipe in the hospital.  NYPD spokesman, Paul Browne, says she may have hid it in a body cavity.

    Today, Bethea was charged with manslaughter, second-degree assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

    Bethea had a .03 blood-alcohol-level an hour after the crash, which is under the legal limit, cops said.  Investigators are now testing for any traces of drugs in her system.

    The 46-year-old woman was speeding down a Queens road at 70 miles per hour Monday afternoon when she lost control, crossed a double yellow line and crashed into another car, police say. She was driving five of her mother's foster children and their nanny to a foster care center.

    The middle row of seats was removed from the car, and un-belted children were sitting on the floor. Two of the children, Katherine Willis, 15, and Melissa El-Mirra, 5, have died from their injuries.  Five-year old Tatiyana Bethea is in a medically induced coma and had a metal device implanted in her skull to relieve pressure on her brain. The other passengers, as well as the driver of the other car are in stable condition.

    Family spokesman, the Rev. Owen E. Williams said he didn't know of any substance abuse within the Bethea family.

    "This is a terrible, terrible accident," he said.

    In 2002, Bethea had her license temporarily suspended for refusing to take a breathalyzer test following a minor accident.