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Hit-run witness gives chase, 7 years after brother was run down

A Levittown couple came to the aid of a pedestrian struck near their house. They have shared a video of the incident in hopes of catching the driver.

Seven years ago, Matthew Long’s brother was killed in Merrick by a hit-and-run driver who was never caught. So on Friday, May 25, 2018, when he saw a car hit a pedestrian in front of his home and sped off, Long was especially motivated to help. The Levittown resident reunited with the victim he helped, Sarem Naibzada, on Tuesday. (Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas; Matthew Long; Photo Credit: Matthew Long)

Seven years ago, Matthew Long’s brother was killed in Merrick by a hit-and-run driver who was never caught.

So on Friday, when he saw a car hit a pedestrian in front of his Levittown home and speed off, Long was especially motivated.

“I just wanted to catch him,” Long, 30, said. “I wanted to look at that person in the face and ask them what they were doing.”

While his wife tended to the pedestrian, Long, on his motorcycle at the time, followed the fleeing car for a few blocks as it sped through intersections. Long said he was able to get only a partial license plate number: GRF.

“I’m very grateful that I was able to have these two people nearby,” said the pedestrian, Sarem Naibzada, 19, who suffered bruises on his head and pain on his left side. “They were so supportive and are really trying to get this guy.”

Naibzada, 19, who lives a few blocks away, was walking to a carnival to meet friends about 10:40 p.m. when he was struck by the car at the intersection of Church and Hilltop roads.

Long and his wife, Meredith Long, 30, were riding home on their motorcycles when they saw the gray or silver Infiniti with tinted windows hit Naibzada, brake momentarily and take off.

Matthew Long said as he tried to catch up to the driver, he was worried for Naibzada, who was flung in the air and tumbled on the ground. Long said he was reminded of the hit-and-run driver who killed his brother.

“I was just angry when I saw them leave the scene like that,” Long said. “It’s a real sore topic for me.”

William Long, 25, died of his injuries after being hit by a maroon Nissan Altima in June 2011 on Babylon Turnpike. Long and his family helped distribute flyers, asking for someone to come forward, but nothing came of it.

Nassau County police said no arrests have been made in the case.

In Friday’s case, the Longs caught the hit-and-run on their home security camera and have been sharing the video in local Facebook groups hoping that someone will identify the driver.

Nassau police, who are investigating, have asked for the public’s help in finding the driver. In a news release, police said, “a 19 year old male was walking east on Church Road at the intersection of Hilltop Road which is a four way stop roadway. As the victim crossed Hilltop Road from west to east an unknown silver Infiniti auto struck the pedestrian causing him to roll up on to the hood of the car and then on to the street.

“The driver of the vehicle never stopped to show identification or assist the victim,” the release continued.

Matthew Long said he is “just tired of hearing these stories . . . It’s ridiculous for someone to just drive off after hitting someone and not even stopping to make sure they’re OK.”

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