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September 24, 2018 - 6:48pm

Driver accused in fatal hit-and-run reportedly tried to talk deputy into letting her go during earlier DWI stop

posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, news, notify.

Jennifer Serrano told a deputy she was looking for a girlfriend's house in Darien and was lost after nearly hitting the deputy's car on Route 77 in the early morning of Aug. 11.

The 48-year-old Serrano has been accused of hitting and killing Connor Lynskey, 18, of Hinckley, on Sumner Road about 25 minutes before her encounter with Deputy Robert C. Henning. The encounter led to her arrest on a drunken driving charge but she never revealed to Henning or any of the court or jail officials she met that morning that she may have been involved in a hit-and-run accident.

Lynskey had been reported missing by the time of her arrest but his body wouldn't be found until 11:30 in the morning. A day after his death was reported, Sheriff's Officers investigators developed leads and identified Serrano as the suspected driver of the hit-and-run vehicle. She was located at her sister's house in Amherst. Deputies also seized the vehicle they believe she was driving at the time of the accident about 12:30 a.m. and her subsequent arrest for DWI at 12:55 a.m.

After the near collision on Route 77, Henning flipped on the emergency lights of his patrol vehicle and initiated a traffic stop. In his report of the incident, he said he could detect a strong odor of alcohol and that Serrano's eyes were glassy, according to a report he wrote and attached to the arresting document on file with the Genesee County Court.

The Batavian requested the document after District Attorney Lawrence Friedman discussed it during Serrano's last court appearance Sept.12. Judge Charles Zambito granted the request at a hearing, where neither Serrano nor her attorneys appeared to object to the document's release, this past Thursday.

According to Henning's report, Serrano failed multiple parts of a field sobriety test but her demeanor even before the test began indicated she may have been intoxicated, according to the report.

"Jennifer was swaying back and forth and leaned into the tire on the back of the vehicle multiple times to keep her balance while I was talking to her," Henning wrote. "Jennifer was also fidgeting while speaking with me. She was constantly moving her hands and rubbing them together."

Henning attempted a roadside Alco-sensor test but after Serrano blew once and it didn't register a reading, she wouldn't blow again. She also refused a Datamaster test at the Batavia Police Station and she refused three separate requests to submit to the test at Darien Town Court.

During the field sobriety tests, Henning reported Serrano swayed back and forth and had a hard time keeping her head still.

At one time during the test, Serrano reportedly said, "Am I moving my head? I can't even tell."

She wasn't able to complete a balance test without hold her hands out and she couldn't successfully walk heel-to-toe, according to Henning's report.

After the walk and turn, she reportedly told Henning, "I failed."

The report also reveals there was a passenger in Serrano's vehicle, though the person isn't named and if police obtained a witness statement from the passenger, it's not included in the court file.

Serrano said she drove from Silver Lake to Darien Lake to pick up her passenger after the Jason Aldean concert, according to statements Serrano reportedly made to Henning.

When Henning asked Serrano about consuming alcohol that night, Serrano reportedly said, "I had some earlier."

"What's some?" Henning asked.

The report says Serrano then said, "Umm, I didn't have any."

After informing Serrano he would conduct some tests, Serrano reportedly told Henning, "Well, listen, can you just let me hang here? You just let me hang here. You just all did your thing. You walked around. Could you just call my cousin, like talk to my cousin and just let me know."

Later she reportedly said, "My girlfriend's house is on this street. I pulled into the wrong driveway. I pulled out in front of you. Could you just do a solid, you know, like I promise you. Can we call my, you call my cousin and we follow you, and you follow me."

While trying to convince Serrano to submitted to a breath test, he told her, "It's another ticket if you refuse," and Serrano reportedly told Henning, "It's not another ticket if I refuse. "It's, it's, I'm doomed."

When Henning informed her she was under arrest, Serrano reportedly said, "Really? I've been kind to you. Oh, my God."

Later, after Serrano said she really didn't understand what was going on, Henning said he told her, " I believe that you are intoxicated to the point where you should not be driving a motor vehicle, OK? So I arrested you for that. Now you admitted to drinking. I don't know what. I don't know how much but that's basically what the field tests and the Datamaster can prove it."

Serrano said, "I don't understand how this is going to work out for me, like, you keep saying, 'it's going to be OK.' "

"It will," said Henning, who at the time didn't know about Lynskey. "It's not the end of the world. Look, the end of the world could have been that you got in a head-on collision tonight and either hurt yourself, hurt the passenger, or hurt someone else." 

All Serrano reportedly had to say at that point was, "I just pulled out of a driveway in front of you. I was looking for my girlfriend's house."

Lynskey, a promising medical student, according to his family, had attended the Jason Aldean concert with friends and family. They were all camping at Darien Lakes State Park. Lynskey was walking with members of his group when he decided to run ahead on Sumner Road and catch up with a friend. That was the last time anybody saw him alive.

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