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Long IslandCrime

Driver sought in Central Islip fatal hit-run, police say

Willie Dinkins, 86, was fatally injured in a

Willie Dinkins, 86, was fatally injured in a hit-and-run on Sept. 16, 2016, as he crossed Suffolk Avenue in Central Islip. Credit: SCPD

It wasn’t unusual for Willie Dinkins to walk to the McDonald’s on Suffolk Avenue, about a mile and a half from where he lived on Branch Avenue in Central Islip.

Even at the oddest of hours. The lure was Chicken McNuggets.

“He was hooked on McNuggets. He just loved those things,” his daughter, Diane Dinkins, said Thursday.

Diane Dinkins is pretty sure her father, 86, affectionately known to many in the neighborhood as Walkin’ Willie, was on his way back from McDonald’s when he was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver at about 2 a.m. on Sept. 16.

As Suffolk County police and Crime Stoppers reached out Thursday, hoping for new information on the case, so too did Diane Dinkins.

“Maybe someone was with the driver,” she said. “Or maybe there’s someone who just knows something and has a conscience and says, ‘Look, I can’t hold this in any longer.’ ”

In a Thursday news release, police and Crime Stoppers said the person who hit Dinkins was driving a four-door Honda Civic, probably a model from 2001 to 2005. Dinkins was crossing from the north side of Suffolk Avenue near Wheeler Road when he was struck.

Detectives have determined that the Civic may have sustained damage to the driver’s side of the vehicle. The car’s black side-view mirror was left at the scene of the crash.

Maybe, Dinkins said, someone repaired the car and her father’s story might ring a bell, push someone to step forward with information.

Willie Dinkins came to Long Island from Georgia in the early 1950s, his daughter said, and worked most of his life building swimming pools.

The family lived mostly in Amityville, said Diane Dinkins, 60, who still lives there.

Her father was a widower and had retired years ago; he lived with longtime family friends in the house on Branch Avenue, she said.

Another of his favorite things was playing Quick Draw lottery games. “He loved to do that. And the McNuggets,” his daughter said.

And he walked everywhere to get both.

Anyone with information can call the Major Case Unit at 631-852-6555 or Suffolk Crime Stoppers at 800-220-8477. All calls will be kept confidential.

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