Up to 7 years for hit-and-run driver
A college professor who taught peacekeeping and international co-operation was fatally injured when he was struck by a car driven by a man with a history of drunken driving convictions.
The tragedy occurred in the New York suburb of Plainview, Nassau County, and the driver Joseph Kohler, 78, has now been jailed for between two years four months and seven years after being found guilty of leaving the scene of a hit-and-run accident and of reckless driving.
His victim was Gurcharan Singh, also 78, a leader in Long Island’s Sikh community, who was walking to a temple near his home in Plainview on the evening of March 31, 2007.
The jury at Nassau County Court heard that Kohler drove through a stop light although it had been on red so long that Singh had walked halfway across the five-lane highway before the impact, according to online news site www.newsday.com
Kohler, who lived in a Plainville senior citizens’ complex, drove off but later a member of the public pointed out a damaged 1991 Lincoln Mark V11 that matched the description of the car involved in the hit-and-run.
Police investigations resulted in Kohler surrendering five days after the incident. It was discovered that he had drunken driving convictions stretching back 20 years.
Gurcharan Singh, a father of three, suffered multiple fractures and head injuries, and died within hours of the collision. He was professor emeritus at Marymount Manhattan College.
Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice said at the resumed hearing that Kohler would now suffer the consequences of his cowardly action. “I only hope that Dr. Singh’s family can take solace in knowing Mr Kohler received the maximum sentence,” she said.
The jury could not reach a verdict on a charge of criminally negligent homicide against Kohler.
With thanks to Newsday.com
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