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Town official hits pedestrian; 2nd driver charged in fatality

A male pedestrian was fatally struck by a

A male pedestrian was fatally struck by a vehicle Thursday morning, Nov. 3, 2016, near the corner of Washington Street and Burr Avenue in Hempstead. Hempstead Village police said the fatal accident occurred at 7:05 a.m. Credit: Jim Staubitser

Michael Deery, the longtime spokesman for the Town of Hempstead, hit a pedestrian who moments later was struck by another vehicle and died Thursday morning in Hempstead Village, officials said.

Deery remained at the scene and was not charged, Town Attorney Joe Ra said Thursday evening.

He was driving his town-issued 2011 Jeep sport utility vehicle when he hit the man, who was running across the street, police said.

The unlicensed driver who struck the pedestrian the second time was arrested after he fled and was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident, police said.

The victim was identified as Miguel A. Vasquez Guillen, 60, of Hempstead, police said.

Contacted at home Thursday evening, Deery declined to comment on the accident.

Ra said Deery stayed at the scene and cooperated with police. He said Deery was released from the scene without any charges or citations filed and returned to work Thursday morning.

Nassau Police Det. Lt. Richard LeBrun declined to confirm Deery was the SUV’s driver, citing a long-standing policy on the identification of crash victims facing no charges.

“The responding officer found no evidence of intoxication, no impairment by drugs and the homicide detectives found no criminality with regard to the driver of vehicle number one,” LeBrun said.

LeBrun said the Jeep’s driver stopped and called 911 after hitting the victim. A bystander provided aid.

“This is a tragic auto accident,” LeBrun said. “Unfortunately these are tragic events.”

At 7:05 a.m., Guillen was running from west to east across Washington Street at Burr Avenue when, while in the southbound lanes, was struck by the Jeep, which was headed south on Washington Street, police said.

The second driver, who police said was not licensed, was identified as Jose Nelson Cruz, 29, of Amityville. Police said he was driving south in a 1991 Dodge van.

Police said Cruz then turned right onto Lent Avenue and collided with a tree before turning left onto Morel Street and striking a Long Island Rail Road right of way fence, which “ultimately” disabled the vehicle.

Hempstead police, notified by a witness, arrested Cruz, Nassau police said.

Cruz, who was charged with being an unlicensed driver as well as leaving the scene of an accident with death, was expected to be arraigned Friday, police said.

Deery, who was hired by Hempstead Town in May 2001, earned $193,692 in 2014, the most current data available, Newsday records show.

With Joan Gralla

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