Thomas Costa's lawyer: He won't make bail

Thomas Costa, of Coram, inside the courtroom at

Thomas Costa, of Coram, inside the courtroom at Central Islip Criminal Court for arraignment in the fatal hit-and-run crash that killed Karen Benjamin who was jogging in Mount Sinai. (July 21, 2013) (Credit: James Carbone)

Bail for the 31-year-old Coram man charged last week in the hit-and-run death of a jogger was set Tuesday at $150,000 cash or $300,000 bond.

Thomas Costa's bail hearing at First District Court in Central Islip followed his July 31 arraignment in which he pleaded not guilty to speeding and leaving the scene of an incident in June when the white 2001 BMW he was driving hit Karen Benjamin, 56, of Coram. Benjamin later died from her injuries after being taken off life support.

Costa's lawyer, John Ebel of Amagansett, said his client won't make bail.


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"It's out of the question," Ebel said. "He's from a normal, working class family."

Costa, a parolee, went back to jail in July after violating parole in a burglary and drug possession case. Costa had stayed out past curfew, violating his parole, Ebel said.

Costa's next court appearance is scheduled for Sept. 9.

On June 23, Benjamin was jogging when she was hit by a car that left the scene just west of Mount Sinai-Coram Road in Mount Sinai. Parts of the vehicle left at the crash site matched the BMW registered to Costa's father, and blood on the vehicle matched Benjamin's, a Suffolk prosecutor said at the bail hearing.

Costa had parked the car at his parents' home a couple miles away from the crash site, prosecutors said. Investigators saw it while going door to door questioning BMW owners.

Benjamin was taken off life support on July 17.

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