Charges upgraded against James Murphy in fatal New Year's Eve crash that killed Herta Palma, of Commack

Police say James Murphy, 19, admitted taking a

Police say James Murphy, 19, admitted taking a combination of drugs before the New Year's Eve crash that killed Herta Palma, 63. (Credit: News 12)

WOODBURY - Charges have been upgraded against the teen accused of driving high in a crash that killed a Commack woman on New Year’s Eve.

Prosecutors say 19-year-old James Murphy admitted he was driving high on a combination of an anti-anxiety drug, nitrous oxide from a computer cleaner and hash oil before he crashed into the car driven by 63-year-old Herta Palma.

The Huntington teen’s charges were upgraded to felony manslaughter. If convicted, Murphy faces five to 15 years in prison.

Murphy's attorney says his client was not driving high, and says faulty traffic lights at the Commack Road and New Highway intersection may be to blame.

Prosecutors say they have video of the crash from nearby cameras and text messages from Murphy's phone from after the crash. They say he was telling his friends that he might be going to jail for a long time.

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