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Long IslandCrime

Driver strikes and kills pedestrian in Copiague, police say

A Lindenhurst man who police said had 28 license suspensions when he struck and killed a pedestrian in Copiague was arraigned on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. Richard Turner Jr., 36, was charged with one count of first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a felony, and two vehicle and traffic law infractions. Credit: News 12 Long Island

A Copiague man had just picked up his mother’s heart medication from a pharmacy and was walking home when he was struck and killed by an unlicensed driver, family members and authorities said Friday.

The driver, Suffolk police said, had his license suspended 28 times and revoked twice.

Fausto Rodriguez, 38, was crossing Sunrise Highway, about 10 yards east of a crosswalk, on Thursday night when he was struck by a 2003 Lexus RX driven by Richard Turner Jr., police said.

The crash happened in the eastbound lanes at about 6:30 p.m., between Bayview Avenue and Great Neck Road.

“I didn’t see him,” Turner told police at the scene, according to Robert Clifford, a spokesman for the Suffolk County district attorney’s office.

Turner Jr., 36, of Lindenhurst, was charged with first-degree aggravated unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle, a felony. He was arraigned Friday in First District Court in Central Islip and held in lieu of $100,000 cash bail or $200,000 bond.

Turner stayed at the scene and called 911, according to his attorney, Doug Byrne of Central Islip.

“This is a tragedy, and our thoughts and prayers are with the victim’s family,” Byrne said after the arraignment.

Police noted that Rodriguez wore “dark” clothing that may have affected Turner’s peripheral vision, Clifford said.

Copiague Rescue took Rodriguez to Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center in West Islip, where he was pronounced dead, authorities said.

Rodriguez’s parents and siblings are heartbroken over his death, said Rodriguez’ cousin, Elisa Collado, 40, also of Copiague.

“He was a nice person. He was always by his mom, helping her with everything,” Collado said. “Everything she needed; he was the one who was there for her and for the whole family.”

Rodriguez, his parents and six siblings arrived in the United States in June and July last year, Collado said. Four other sisters remain in their native Dominican Republic, where the family grows coffee on a small piece of land.

Rodriguez used to work on the coffee farm, rising early each morning to help his parents, Collado said.

Although Rodriguez is the third-youngest child, Collado said his parents considered him the head of the family, supporting the family financially and in other ways. On Long Island, he began working for a fencing company, she said.

“He was always working — a hard worker,” she said.

With Mark Morales

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