SOUTHAMPTON, NY -- Detectives are searching for a hit-and-run driver who fled after fatally striking a nun on Monday night.
The victim has been identified as Sister Jacqueline Walsh, a pastoral associate at in Syosset, who was attending a retreat in the Water Mill area with fellow members of the Sisters of Mercy, according to .
Det. Sgt. Lisa Costa said that police were called at 8:30 p.m. Monday with a report of a woman lying on the ground a few feet from the roadway, bleeding and unresponsive, near 383 Rose Hill Road in Water Mill. The woman, white and approximately 60 years of age, was dead upon police arrival, Costa said.
Just a half mile from the scene, detectives located an unoccupied 2009 Volkswagen Touareg with front-end damage, Costa said. Detectives are asking the public's help in finding the driver, said to be a white Hispanic male, approximately 5 feet and 7 inches tall, in his 20s or 30s, with short spiked hair, who was wearing dark shorts and a white shirt at the time of the accident.
Tuesday morning Suffolk District Attorney Thomas Spota said the driver has been identified. “We know who the driver of the car is, and there are police officers right now on the street trying to locate him,” he said. “He lives in the community where the incident occurred.”
Spota said a prosecutor in his vehicular crimes unit — which he created in January — is assigned to the case and was on the scene with investigators Monday night.
In addition to members of the district attorney’s office and Southampton Town Police Department, also assisting at the scene were New York State troopers, a Riverhead K-9 unit, members of the Suffolk County Police Crime Lab, and the , Costa said.
Costa urged anyone with information to call the detective unit at 631-702-2230.
Sister Patricia Vetrano, the president of the Sisters of Mercy of the Mid-Atlantic Community, said they are "are heartbroken and devastated at the tragic death of Sister Jackie."
"Jackie was well-loved, a woman of faith, warmth and humor who touched the lives of many with her joy and concern for others," Vetrano said.
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A woman was discovered dead on the side of the road in Water Mill on Monday night.
Southampton Town Police Sgt. Michael Burns said that a passerby discovered a person lying on the ground on Rose Hill Road at 8:30 p.m. and called police.
As of 12:45 a.m. Tuesday, detectives were still on scene investigating, Burns said. No further information would be released until after the family of the victim is notified, he said.
The passerby also reported discovering a pocketknife nearby, but Burns said the pocketknife may have been unrelated.