An Amityville college student returning home from his first day on a new job was struck and killed after he ran out of gas on the Long Island Expressway in Commack, his family and Suffolk County police said Sunday.
Aaron Thomas, 19, parked his car Saturday night in the safety zone between the westbound LIE and an entrance ramp at Exit 52 and walked to purchase gas on Commack Road, police said.
He was returning with the gas and was crossing the entrance ramp when he was hit around 8 p.m., police said. His girlfriend was waiting in the car, police said.
Thomas was pronounced dead Saturday night at Huntington Hospital, police said.
A 24-year-old Sayville resident, Kelly Hinlicky, driving a 2006 Chevrolet, struck Thomas and stayed at the scene with him, police said. The crash is considered an accident and Hinlicky is not expected to be charged, police said Sunday.
Thomas, a Suffolk County Community College student, had just finished his first shift as a telephone operator at a Commack call center, his grieving sister, Muffie Thomas, 26, of Amityville, said Sunday. "He was up for the challenge. It was different from any other work he had ever done," she said.
Aaron Thomas had also attended class at Suffolk earlier that day, his sister said. The Amityville Memorial High School graduate was enrolled in paralegal studies classes and wanted to go on to law school and a career as an attorney, she said.
"He wanted to make a difference," she said. "He was so loving and would do anything for anybody. He was God-fearing."
Muffie Thomas remembered her younger brother, who had three other sisters and two brothers, as a jokester intent on lightening moods in their tight-knit family. "He was really funny and made people laugh," she said.
"I'm devastated," she said. "We were extremely close. I'm seven months pregnant and he was excited to be an uncle to his new niece."
The Chevrolet was impounded for a safety check and an investigation is ongoing, police said.