FREEPORT - Once drowning in addiction, a Freeport woman who struck and killed a woman with her vehicle told her story of recovery Thursday.
Kayla Gerdes, 24, admitted that she was high on Xanax, marijuana and oxycodone when she ran down 69-year-old Rebecca Twine, who was mowing the lawn outside her Hempstead home. The incident occurred on April 20, 2010.
Gerdes was paroled in October and spends her days advocating for women attempting to overcome addiction.
"I was a toddler the first time I was molested," she told News 12. "I went through other abuses as well that shaped me into that destructive girl…By no means am I a victim. I talk about the things that I've been through to shine light that these unresolved issues can result in another life being taken."
Gerdes spoke Thursday at an open house for a new facility for addicted mothers and their children run by the Family and Children's Association.
She says she earned an associate's degree in prison and is currently a student at Columbia University. She say she will be teaching a class at Riker's Island starting next month.
News 12 reached out Twine's family regarding this story. They did not respond.