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Drunk driver blamed in teen's death

December 3, 2010 3:51:19 AM PST
The screams reverberated through the halls of the Suffolk County courthouse Thursday.

The agonizing cries were so loud that they disrupted the arraignment of the man accused of driving drunk and mowing down Yolanda Silvera's 18-year-old daughter, Tyniele.

"I'm not expecting to hear that my child is hit down in the streets by somebody who didn't think before they got behind a steering wheel," Silvera said.

Tyniele planned to be a lawyer and was about to start at Nassau Community College.

Just before 9 p.m. Wednesday, she was returning from her tutoring job in Brooklyn and started the short walk home from the Amityville train station.

"She was supposed to come home. She was supposed to call. And she didn't, and this guy just took her life," her sister, Leasa Silvera, said as she sobbed.

As she crossed Sunrise Highway in a crosswalk, police say 46-year-old Kenneth Serwan, driving drunk, plowed into her.

"It's a Christmastime tragedy. People should think twice before they get behind the wheel of a car and drink and drive," Detective Lt. Robert Edwards said.

No one came to the door at Serwan's Lindenhurst home. He's married with three teenage kids of his own, and he coaches little league soccer.

But at the scene, investigators say he showed obvious signs of intoxication. And they placed him under arrest.

Back in court, a judge agreed to every penny of the $100,000 in bail that prosecutors requested.

But for Tyniele's family, it simply wasn't enough. Her boyfriend, Kevaughn Hammond, planned to some day make her his wife.

"We had a whole lotta things me and her had planned. And now to be planning her funeral. And I'm only 19. It's so unfair," he said.

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