DA Pitches Tougher Punishment for Hit-and-Run Drivers

Manhunt for suspected hit-and-run driver who police say fatally struck a nun in Water Mill is ongoing.

There has been a rash of serious hit-and-run accidents in Suffolk County of late, and Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota says that its time that something is done to hold the driver's fully accountable for their actions.

Spota is calling for tougher penalties for those who flee the scene of an accident that results in death or serious injury — like the driver who fatally struck Sister Jackie Walsh in Water Mill on July 9, 2012.

Walsh, a Catholic nun from Syosset, was staying at a Sisters of Mercy retreat house when she went out for a walk and was fatally struck by a vehicle that authorities say was being driven by Carlos Armando Ixpec-Chitay. Ixpec-Chitay, is believed to have fled the country to avoid prosecution.

Others, however, are arrested within days of an accident — after evidence that could be used against the drivers is gone.

Those who flee, Spota said, make it impossible to not only help the victim immediately, but to determine if the drivers were intoxicated or impaired by drugs.

"People just aren't stopping anymore," Spota said during a press conference Wednesday at the Suffolk County Criminal Court in Riverside. "There should be more serious consequences for leaving the scene."

"This is an epidemic," he said, outlining a number of hit-and-runs in Suffolk over the past few weeks. "They're beating the system," he said of the drivers. "We need immediate legislative action."

On Dec. 28, a man celebrating his 50th birthday was killed in Riverhead while crossing East Main Street.  Joseph Plummer, 48, of Middle Island, was arrested Jan. 2 and charged with a felony count of leaving the scene of an accident. Spota said Plummer had been drinking vodka all day.

Alejandro Padilla, 24, of Bay Shore, was arrested Dec. 22, hours after authorities say he rear ended Zenaida Falcon's vehicle, sending it into a utility pole. Falcon died of her injuries the next day. Padilla face a litany of charges, including second degree manslaughter.

Kristofer Busching, 25, of North Babylon, was arrested earlier this month after a New Year's Eve accident in which authorities say he seriously injured a pedestrian, 17-year-old Ryan McCarthy, on Udall Road in West Islip. According to Spota's office, Busching conspired with two others to stage another crash to cover up the original accident. Among the charges leveled at
Busching are felony counts of assault and leaving the scene of an accident.

“There is no reconciling the disparity that occurs when drivers who remain at the scene after causing an accident face the possibility of a more severe punishment under our law than drivers who flee," Spota said. "I urge our state legislators to change the law now.”

With reporting by Lisa Finn.

Jaguar-Guy January 17, 2013 at 07:01 PM
Duh ?? Ya think ???!!! Today's law rewards those who flee. I see "Leslie" post all the time that these people (DWI) should be thrown in jail and let them ROT - I agree.
christie nicolle January 18, 2013 at 04:15 PM
why so surprised Jag-Guy? Welcome to Obama's America... expect more of this travesty.
Voice January 19, 2013 at 05:18 AM
WOW not surprised another "IA" Obama hater...This is OUR America and it has been OUR America well before Obama and this has been an issue well before Obama, but then again could it be because......BUT any way I am glad there is finally some conversation and attention being given to this hit and run/flee issue. A few years ago a car rammed the car of a young lady (friend of the family) with her three children in the car, and the driver hit her ,and jumped out the the car leaving the car in the middle of the road as he fled into the woods. Her and her children were hospitalized, her car was totaled causing her to eventually lose her job because of it. The police were unable to get/find the driver. ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!!! A couple of weeks a ago my cousin was hit in the Bronx by a hit and run driver and left for dead. He was critically injured put on life support and his children gathered and chose to take him off life support. I very sadly attended my cousin's funeral last Saturday. Lastly, if is was not for a friend of the family working in the Bronx court system there would not even been an investigation. Which is a WHOLE other issue.I REST MY CASE......AND GOD BLESS AMERICA!!!
christie nicolle January 20, 2013 at 05:28 PM
hey Voice, what are you talking about pal? What is "IA" Obama hater?? Tell me, what is there to like, admire about a leftist invention like Obama... the WORST President ever!!


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