An Oakdale motorist was charged Wednesday with leaving the scene of a fatal hit-and-run accident in Lake Ronkonkoma last August and then replacing her broken windshield to cover up the crash, prosecutors said.
Michelle Karp, 28, was arraigned in Riverhead on charges of leaving the scene of an incident resulting in death of Lydia Ciminelli, 72, of Lake Ronkonkoma and tampering with physical evidence.
Acting Supreme Court Justice Steven Pilewski released Karp on her own recognizance and suspended her driver's license. Police had previously said she was from East Northport, but the district attorney's office said Wednesday she had moved to Oakdale.
“Striking a pedestrian and driving away, leaving them injured and lying in the road, is no accident,” said Suffolk County District Attorney Ray Tierney. “This defendant allegedly did just that and attempted to cover it up. ”
David Besso, Karp's Bay Shore-based defense attorney, said his client was not aware that he struck the victim and made no effort to cover up the accident.
"On the day that this alleged incident occurred, there was a terrible storm and trees were flying all over the place," Besso said. "Michelle had no idea that she hit anybody so she didn't do anything to cover anything up. She was just trying to repair a motor vehicle … I'm sure that she will be proven innocent after the trial."
On Aug. 7 at 9:30 a.m., Karp was driving a gray 2009 Nissan Maxima southbound on Rosevale Avenue when she struck Ciminelli, who was crossing the street, investigators said.
Karp then drove away from the scene without providing help to the victim and failed to report the collision to law enforcement, prosecutors said.
Ciminelli was taken to Stony Brook Hospital where she died from her injuries.
Two hours after the crash, Karp replaced her broken windshield, which cracked during the crash, authorities said.
During their investigation, police recovered car parts from the crash scene, matching the damage on Karp’s Nissan, prosecutors said.
Karp is due back in court on Dec. 19.
With John Valenti