Federal Judge Killed in ‘Harry Potter’ Hit-and-Run Crash

Justin Rohrlich
·3 min read
Sari Goodfriend/Cardozo Law
Sari Goodfriend/Cardozo Law

A Florida woman who police say was so high on mind-bending drugs that she was screaming she was Harry Potter has been charged with the hit-and-run accident that killed a federal judge.

U.S.District Judge Sandra Feuerstein, 75, was mowed down as she strolled down a Boca Raton sidewalk on Friday morning and was pronounced dead at the hospital. A 6-year-old boy, Anthony Ovchinnikov, was injured in the crash, but survived.

Feuerstein was appointed to the federal bench in 2003 by former President George W. Bush, and worked out of the Eastern District of New York, which covers Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island, and Long Island. She previously served as a New York State judge and worked as a school teacher.

According to an arrest report filed by Boca Raton Police, a red two-door sedan was seen driving erratically down North Ocean Boulevard in Boca Raton shortly after 10 a.m. Friday. It veered around stopped traffic and jumped the sidewalk, then hit Feuerstein but kept going, the report states. As the driver steered back onto the roadway, she struck and injured Ovchinnikov.

A bystander provided the car’s full license plate number to responding officers, and said she saw a sticker of a bumblebee on the trunk. “Let it be noted that none of the witnesses reported that the driver attempted to stop or render aid to the victims,” the police report continues.

Less than a half-hour later, the vehicle was found crashed in Delray Beach. Cops say the driver, identified as Nastasia Andranie Snape, 23, of North Lauderdale, Florida, appeared to have been knocked unconscious. But when officers approached her, she “began to convulse or have seizure-like movements,” the report says. She wouldn’t make eye contact with officers on the scene, and “stared into space.”

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>Nastasia Snape</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Palm Beach County Jail</div>

Nastasia Snape

Palm Beach County Jail

Snape, who insisted she was OK, was then loaded into an ambulance, where she “began to scream and fight with medics, stating that she was ‘Harry Potter,’” according to the police. One of the characters in the fictional Harry Potter series of books is an adult wizard named Severus Snape.The ambulance crew administered 400 milligrams of ketamine to calm her down, according to the police report.

At the hospital, another officer attempted to interview Snape, who said at first that she remembered being in a car crash, then suddenly changed her mind and said, “I wasn’t in a crash.” Her behavior toggled wildly between being calm one moment and screaming the next, the report continues.

Officers say they searched Snape’s bag to find her ID, and discovered a “common synthetic drug called ‘T’ salts,” which the report explains are “commonly known to cause erratic, excited, delirium-like behavior.” Investigators swabbed the car, including the front bumper and undercarriage, for DNA evidence.

Snape was charged with vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of an accident, and ordered to surrender her passport. On Sunday, she was still being held at the Palm Beach County Jail in lieu of $60,000 bond. She is scheduled to appear in court on June 3, via Zoom.

At the time of her death, Feuerstein was presiding over a murder-for-hire case involving NYPD Police Officer Valerie Cincinelli, who is accused of trying to hire a hitman to assassinate her estranged husband and her new boyfriend’s teenage daughter. Feuerstein was the former president of the Nassau County Women’s Bar Association as well as vice president of the New York State Women’s Bar Association. Her mother was also a judge.

“As we mourn her tragic death, we also remember Judge Feuerstein's unwavering commitment to justice and service to the people of our district and our nation,” Acting U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of New York Mark Lesko tweeted.

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