A Nesconset man was convicted Tuesday of hitting and killing a pedestrian walking along Route 347 in Hauppauge in the dark and leaving the scene.
Craig Williams, 40, sat at the defense table and shook his head in dismay after he heard the jury's verdict. Members of both his family and the victim's cried quietly in the courtroom.
"It's over, baby," the victim's father, Thomas Wik Sr., said to his sobbing wife, Joanne, as they embraced outside the courtroom. "It was the right verdict," Wik said later.StoryPedestrian dead, driver charged in hit-runStoryNot guilty plea in fatal Hauppauge crash
Thomas Wik Jr., 23, of Nesconset, was killed about 4:45 a.m. on Sept. 29, 2012, as he walked east along the eastbound lanes of Route 347 near South Plaisted Avenue. Williams, who was coming home from a night out in Huntington, returned home and left his Honda Ridgeline in the driveway. About an hour later, a family member called police to let them know he was involved in the crash.
Defense attorney William Keahon of Hauppauge argued that Williams didn't know he'd hit a person. Wik was wearing dark clothing and Williams assumed he'd hit one of the many orange construction barrels that lined the road then.
During the trial, family members and police officers who talked to Williams soon afterward said they saw no sign of intoxication, nor was there any attempt to hide the damage on his pickup.
But Stephen Scaring, a private attorney appointed as a special prosecutor because Williams' father worked for the Suffolk district attorney's office, argued that Williams had to have known he hit a person. Forensic scientists testified that fibers from Wik's clothing were embedded in the cracked bumper of Williams' truck.
Williams faces a maximum of 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison for leaving the scene of an accident when he is sentenced Jan. 13. Suffolk County Court Judge Stephen Braslow allowed him to remain free on $25,000 bail.
In Scaring and Keahon, the trial featured two of Long Island's most renowned criminal lawyers of the past four decades. After the verdict, Braslow told them he never would have imagined presiding over a case with both of them.
"It's an honor to have you both in my courtroom," he said.
Scaring said it was a "tough, hard-fought trial" and he was pleased with the verdict.
Keahon did not respond to requests for comment.