A woman injured in a Staten Island drag racing incident was awarded a $4 million settlement for a wild June 2000 incident that left her with a punctured lung, broken ribs and broken vertebrae. Lauren Fuscaldo was a passenger in friend James Jaiman's Camaro when another driver in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution challenged them to a drag race. Though Fuscaldo urged Jaiman not to drag race, Jaiman did and his car went off the road and flew as high as 15 feet before crashing into the brush. Jaiman, who was not injured, and Fuscaldo had been wearing seatbelts, while two passengers in the backseat were not wearing seatbelts and were relatively uninjured.

The Staten Island Advance reported that while Jaiman was cited for speeding, the police couldn't find a second car.

But there were no witnesses, and police found no evidence of a second car.

The other driver -- Michael Corso, 20, of Huguenot, was later discovered by chance, according to Thomas Lucarelli, Ms. Fuscaldo's Dongan Hills-based attorney, when a friend of Ms. Fuscaldo's noticed a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution VIII sitting in a restaurant's parking-lot auto show with its hood open to show off the engine.

The friend summoned Ms. Fuscaldo's boy friend, who struck up a conversation with Corso. When the subject turned to drag racing, Corso reached into his glove compartment and pulled out an account of the crash that had been clipped from the Advance.

"[Corso] was sympathetic," Ms. Fuscaldo said. "He said he was involved, and he gave his number, and said, 'I want to see her.' He was actually upset about it."

During depositions, Corso said he was at the scene and saw the crash but denied that he was drag racing.

"There's definitely no admission of drag racing in the case," said Corso's attorney, Scott Perez of Manhattan, who wouldn't comment on the settlement.

However, Fuscaldo's lawyers and investigators were able to find that Corso was drag racing. Corso was found liable and his insurers shelled out most of the settlement.

Fuscaldo, who is now 21, says she will use some of the money towards her studies at the College of Staten Island. She may need more surgeries in the future.