Pedestrians crossing at the intersection of Hempstead Turnpike and North...

Pedestrians crossing at the intersection of Hempstead Turnpike and North Franklin Street. (Jan. 10, 2012) Credit: Newsday/Alejandra Villa

Syed S. Hussain was on the way to his 3-year-old granddaughter's birthday party on the night of Nov. 20, 2005.

The retired store owner stepped off a bus about 8:30 p.m. and walked south across Hempstead Turnpike at Heathcote Road in Elmont, near Belmont Park's parking field and the Cross Island Parkway.

Hussain, 71, had crossed five of the roadway's six traffic lanes -- it is 85 feet wide there, the length of a Long Island Rail Road electric car -- and was nearly at the curb when a Buick, traveling east, struck him.

His son, Syed Shabahat Hussain, was waiting near the bus stop to meet his father.

"I stepped out of the car and started walking," said the son, now 36. "The next thing I know I see my father lying on the side of the street. He was bleeding. I was trying to get his attention, but he was in and out."

At the time, Syed Shabahat Hussain, now a physician, was a resident at North Shore University Hospital in Manhasset. The shock of seeing his father badly injured prevented him from giving medical care, he said.

"I think I was traumatized, basically," he said.

Syed S. Hussain's other son, Syed I. Hussain, of Elmont, rushed to Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola after his brother's phone call. Their father died about 11:20 p.m.

Syed I. Hussain, now 45, said his father simply wasn't agile enough to make it across. "My father couldn't run that fast," he said.

Nassau County police did not issue the driver a citation for a moving violation.

A native of India, Syed S. Hussain immigrated to the United States in 1993. The sons said their father's death left a "huge" gap in the family.

"He brought us to America. He was the mentor of the family," Syed I. Hussain said. "We owe him."

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