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Pedestrian remembered 1 year after fatal hit-and-run

Friends and family fondly remembered a New York man who lost his life to a hit-and-run accident that happened on Oct. 23, 2012. He had just left a restaurant in Amgansett and was crossing the street at about 7:50 p.m. when he was struck and killed by a vehicle. His body went unnoticed until an East Hampton Town Councilman saw him lying on the ground. The driver remained at large for three-and-a-half months as authorities conducted a search.

The only evidence remaining from the fatal pedestrian accident were shattered fragments from a headlight and metallic blue paint chips. A man in the area, who did not know the victim, offered to match the $5,000 reward posted by Crime Stoppers for anyone who could provide information leading to the driver's arrest.

After an extensive search, police found a 30-year-old Montauk man who they believed hit the pedestrian. He had owned a 2004 Jeep that police found at a New Jersey auction lot with front-end damage, and the defendant told authorities that he had hit a street sign. In March, he pleaded guilty to leaving the scene of an accident with a fatality and tampering with evidence. However, he claimed that the accident was not his fault and he thought that he had hit a deer. At his sentencing, he told the judge that he regretted failing to follow the advice of his attorney and his parents, who begged him to turn himself in. He is serving a 2 to 6-year prison sentence at the Gowanda Correctional Facility.

Hit-and-run pedestrian accidents are difficult for those left behind. Fortunately, the driver who hit the Amgansett man was apprehended and sentenced. Elected officials in many cities are attempting to establish stiffer penalties for hit-and-run motorists, which may discourage drivers from leaving the scene and allow the victims' families to find some sense of closure.

Source: East Hampton Patch, "Pedestrian Killed by Hit-and-Run Driver Remembered 1 Year Later", Taylor K. Vecsey, October 23, 2013

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