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Raymond Kalenka found guilty in fatal Williston Park hit-run

Nassau County Judge Jerald Carter found Raymond Kalenka,

Nassau County Judge Jerald Carter found Raymond Kalenka, pictured at the time of his original arrest, guilty after a bench trial of leaving the scene of an accident with a fatality, and tampering with physical evidence. (Aug. 15, 2012) Credit: Howard Schnapp

A Williston Park man will face up to 7 years in prison after a judge Thursday found that he ran over a 41-year-old man in a roadway last year, then left the scene.

Nassau County Judge Jerald Carter, who presided over Raymond Kalenka's nonjury trial, found him guilty of leaving the scene of an accident with a fatality and tampering with physical evidence.

Kalenka will face 21/3 to 7 years in prison when Carter sentences him Oct. 1.

Prosecutor Katie Zizza said in court that Kalenka was driving his silver 2006 Mercedes-Benz north on Broad Street in Williston Park on Aug. 12, 2012, when he hit Dean LaLima.

Prosecutors said it was not clear why LaLima, of Albertson, was in the street, though he was intoxicated at the time.

LaLima, who was returning home from his job as a manager at Grimaldi's Pizzeria in Garden City, suffered a fractured skull, collarbone, pelvis, and crushing injuries to his head and legs, prosecutors said. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

After running over LaLima, Kalenka, 46, continued driving to his home on Yale Street about 500 feet from the scene. Kalenka removed a piece of the driver's side inner fender liner that had been knocked loose when he hit LaLima. The removed piece has never been found. Kalenka then returned to the scene and drove away without notifying police.

Members of the Nassau County Police Department's Homicide Squad arrested Kalenka at his home two days later based on physical evidence left at the scene and witness statements.

Carter said in court that it seems clear that Kalenka knew at some point that he had hit a human being, and that he left the scene anyway.

"It won't bring my son back," said LaLima's father, John LaLima, 66, after the verdict. "Now I just hope the judge throws the book at him." John LaLima said his son was a good-hearted person who took care of him and his wife even when it wasn't necessary.

Kalenka did not comment after the verdict. His lawyer, Brian Davis of Garden City, said he is considering an appeal.

"I understand the judge's reasoning, but I'm disappointed with the verdict," Davis said.

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