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Dentist from Cedarhurst dies in hit-and-run in Brooklyn

Moments before being struck in a fatal hit-and-run crash, a dentist who lives in Cedarhurst noticed that the light was out on the sign advertising his practice, his grief-stricken office manager said Friday afternoon.

"Let's go back in" to fix the light, Jo Anna Leask of Bay Ridge said she told her boss, Dr. Harry Lewner, Thursday night near the Brooklyn cosmetic and general dentistry practice.

But it was getting late and Lewner - who she said was a good boss and a man who doted on his family - said there was no need.

Going back would have meant staying even longer.

"He said, 'Oh, we'll do it on Saturday,' " when the office was to reopen, Leask said.

Lewner, of Cedarhurst, then went to cross the street.

The next time Leask saw her 58-year-old boss, he was lying in the street. "I wish we went back in," she said. "He wouldn't have gotten hit."

Lewner, who had practiced in the borough since 1978, had been crossing Fourth Avenue near 79th Street when he was hit by a Kia driven by Karissa McFaline, 21, of Connecticut at 9:14 p.m. Thursday, the New York City Police Department said.

As McFaline allegedly fled the crash scene northbound, Lewner was struck by a southbound 2001 Honda. The Honda driver, a 57-year-old woman, stayed and was not charged with a crime, police said.

McFaline later turned herself in and will face a charge of leaving the scene of an accident, police said.

A spokesman for the Brooklyn district attorney's office, Jonah Bruno, said McFaline had not been arraigned as of Friday afternoon. She had turned herself in at the 7th Precinct in Manhattan's Lower East Side at 10:40 p.m., shortly after the crash.

The Web site for Lewner's practice said he was a 1976 graduate of the Columbia University School of Dental and Oral Surgery and that he did postgraduate work at the Northport VA Medical Center.

In addition, his Web site says, he taught restorative dentistry as an assistant clinical professor at Stony Brook University's dental school.

At his Bay Ridge practice on Friday, his office staff said it was fielding a phone that's been "ringing off the hook" since news broke of the deadly crash.

And Saturday, a dentist friend of Lewner's will be there to see patients originally scheduled for an appointment with Lewner.

"That's what Harry would have wanted," Leask said of Lewner. Lewner's son Craig said he was too distraught to immediately talk.

Lewner will be remembered at a funeral Tuesday at 9:30 a.m. at Boulevard-Riverside Chapel, 1450 Broadway, in Hewlett. Burial will be at Beth Moses Cemetery in Melville.

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