The driver responsible for a deadly October 2015 hit-and-run on the Southern State Parkway in Baldwin has been convicted of leaving the scene of a fatal collision, prosecutors said Monday.
Wilkens Thelusma, 39, of Farmingdale, faces 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison after a jury found him guilty Friday, Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said.
Thelusma surrendered to police on Oct. 18. He is scheduled to appear for sentencing before Supreme Court Justice William Donnino on April 21.
“Hit and run collisions continue to plague our roadways and weak laws do not penalize them sufficiently,” Singas said in a statement. “This driver was involved in a fatal crash and simply left the pedestrian to die in the roadway while escaping examination for impairment or intoxication.”
Authorities said the victim, Rick Munoz, 28, had crashed his box truck into the center median of the eastbound parkway and was walking in the lanes of travel when he was struck by a gray 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe at about 2 a.m. on Oct. 15, 2015, just east of Exit 20.
Police found debris at the scene and traced the vehicle to Thelusma’s home in Farmingdale, where Singas said the SUV was discovered “parked behind a fence in the driveway.”
The Santa Fe had right front passenger side damage, Singas said. It also was missing the side view mirror. Singas said the subsequent investigation recovered blood and tissue samples from Munoz off the front and passenger side of the Santa Fe. That included samples found on the windshield, Singas said in her statement.