DA: Delivery driver indicted in Ronkonkoma fatal hit and run
A delivery driver accused of fleeing the scene after hitting a pedestrian in Ronkonkoma — and replacing his broken windshield the next day — was charged in an indictment announced Thursday by Suffolk District Attorney Ray Tierney.
Qiulong Chen, 35, faces charges of leaving the scene of an incident without reporting, and tampering with physical evidence, both felonies.
The pedestrian, Joseph Biggica, 59, of Ronkonkoma, was walking on Remington Boulevard about 6:15 on Oct. 25, 2022 when a 2015 Honda CRV driven by Chen struck him, Tierney said in a news release.
Biggica was transported to Stony Brook University Hospital, where he later died from injuries sustained in the crash. Investigators recovered surveillance video from the scene of the crash, according to the district attorney.
Court of Claims judge and acting Supreme Court Justice Richard I. Horowitz on Thursday ordered Chen held on $25,000 cash, $50,000 bond or $250,000 partially secured bond during an arraignment in Riverhead. Chen was ordered to return to court on March 30.
He was represented at the arraignment by the Kasen Law Firm, which declined to comment afterward. The district attorney's office did not provice Chen's hometown.
According to an investigation conducted by Suffolk police and Tierney’s office, Chen was delivering food when he allegedly struck Biggica.
The following morning, Chen allegedly had the Honda's windshield replaced at an auto body shop in Suffolk County. Several days later, detectives recovered Chen’s vehicle, which still had damage to its hood, in the parking lot of his business, Tierney said.
“The defendant not only allegedly left an innocent person to die on the side of the road, but also attempted to cover it up,” Tierney said. "My office will continue to hold drivers who hit pedestrians and flee to avoid prosecution accountable, especially those who then make a conscious effort to further impede law enforcement’s investigation. This indictment is the first step in securing justice for the victim’s family, and we will continue to aggressively prosecute this case.”
If convicted on the top charge, Chen faces up to seven years in prison.