Two women — one the mother of five children — were killed in separate hit-and-run crashes in the span of about 15 minutes in Suffolk County on Monday night, police said.
In the first collision, Suffolk police said a vehicle — believed to be a sedan — was headed east on Motor Parkway in Hauppauge when it hit another vehicle at the Moreland Road intersection around 10:15 p.m. The vehicle then veered off the road and hit Cherokee Fletcher, who was standing on the sidewalk, police said.
The driver then fled east on Motor Parkway, police said.
Fletcher, 28, of Commack, was pronounced dead at the scene, police said.
About 15 minutes later, police said a different vehicle heading west on Montauk Highway in West Islip struck Tracey Dorismond, 32, of Brentwood, who was standing in the road near Pease Lane. That vehicle also took off, heading west, police said.
"Both incidents are under investigation. At this time detectives do not believe there’s a connection between the two," police said in a statement.
Fletcher's fiance, Steven Bartolomey, broke down in tears Tuesday morning while expressing frustration and disbelief at the driver who sped away after hitting and killing Fletcher.
“Why couldn't you take the responsibility of your actions?” he said. “You left five beautiful children motherless and a lonely man.”
Bartolomey and the couple's five children had been waiting at the shelter where the family lived while Fletcher crossed the parkway to get cash from a 7-Eleven for their daughters’ morning field trip.
When Fletcher hadn't returned 30 minutes later, Bartolomey looked outside and saw flashing lights from police cars and a body under a sheet in the middle of Motor Parkway.
“It was just so sudden … I noticed the time and I thought she should’ve been here,” Bartolomey said. “I ran outside and saw a body under the tarp and I knew it was her. It still feels like a nightmare I’m not waking up from.”
“She was my best friend, a beautiful mother of five,” Bartolomey said. “All she wanted was a house for her kids and to start a life. Now I’m planning a funeral.”
Bartolomey said he's originally from Amityville and Fletcher was from Huntington. The couple, who had been together for the past 10 years, had moved to Florida before returning to Long Island during the pandemic, he said.
They had been living at the shelter in a converted hotel in Commack for about a year, he said, though they had prospects of finding a home of their own in the next two weeks.
The couple's five children — daughters Alora, 7, Norma, 5, Amara, 3, and Harley Quinn, 11 months, and son, Abel, 4 — are now staying with family members, Bartolomey said.
Fletcher’s mother, Shannon Mistretta, struggled to explain the loss of her only child while holding granddaughter Amara in her Middle Island home on Tuesday afternoon.
“I lost my whole world. She was my best friend,” she said. “I never expected her to go first. This is not the way it’s supposed to be. She’s never going to get to see her babies grow up, graduate and go to college.”
Mistretta will try to help raise the children with their father and, when they’re older, try to explain the crash and tell them about their mother, she said.
“We’ll keep it in their memories how wonderful and beautiful their mother was,” Mistretta said. “Her youngest won’t know what her mother looks like, only pictures.”
Mistretta pleaded with the hit-and-run driver to come forward to give the family answers.
“To whoever hit her, please come forward. We just want closure we want to know why you took my baby, their mother, from them and didn’t care to stop,” she said, collapsing in grief. “When they get older, I’m going to have to tell them what happened to their mother."
Bartolomey said one of Fletcher’s greatest fears was that she'd die before her children had a home.
“They’re devastated. Mommy’s not going to be around for Christmas this year,” he said. "She was my everything, my soul mate. Even in the situation where we are now. We tried to make it best for the kids and best for each other and we’ll never have that again.”
There was no answer at Dorismond's Brentwood home. The crash occurred across the street from Good Samaritan Hospital, but hospital officials said she was not employed there.
Anyone with information about these hit-and-run crashes is asked to call the Major Case Unit at 631-852-6555 or Crime Stoppers at 800-220-8477. All calls will be kept confidential.
With James Carbone