At about midnight Sunday, police responded to a 911 call saying a man was lying in the street, police said. The man, Jason Nelson, 26, of North Windsor Avenue, Brightwaters, was taken to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
Police said they had no description of a vehicle that may have hit Nelson, and still were working Monday to confirm his cause of death.
Nelson, who worked in construction, had been staying with his girlfriend at her home on Sandra Avenue, and had just gone out to buy cigarettes, said his father, Ronald Nelson, 54.
"It's every parent's nightmare, a phone call in the middle of the night," he said. When the phone rang early Monday, Nelson said, he thought first of his 32-year-old son, an Army combat engineer stationed in Mississippi. Nelson said, "My heart dropped -- here it comes."
Jason Nelson, who held his first job at age 14 as a restaurant pot washer, worked as a crew leader for a construction company, his father said.
While no date has been set yet for his funeral service, Ronald Nelson said his son had indicated in high school that he wanted his funeral to be held at the same place as that of a good friend's -- St. Patrick Roman Catholic Church, Bay Shore.
Police ask anyone with information to call Third Squad detectives at 631-854-8352 or Crime Stoppers at 800-220-TIPS.