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Driver sought in fatal hit-run in Riverhead

A young mother walking in Riverhead was killed in a hit-and-run crash involving a stolen car Tuesday night, police said.

Riverhead Town Police said they are searching for the driver and passenger of the 2000 Cadillac DeVille that struck Kristina M. Tfelt, 26, of Riverhead, who died of trauma from the crash, police said.

Police said Tfelt was discovered unconscious in the eastbound lane of Route 58 by officers responding to a 911 call at about 9:20 p.m. She was taken to Peconic Bay Medical Center in Riverhead, where she was pronounced dead. Police said the Cadillac was found on a sidewalk "a few hundred feet" from the crash scene, near Woodcrest Avenue. The vehicle struck Tfelt, crashed into a retaining wall and then was abandoned, police said. A male driver and male passenger were seen fleeing afterward.

A witness saw the accident and ran to tell a police officer parked nearby, police said. Police said a search by State Police using a police dog and a Suffolk County police helicopter failed to locate the driver or passenger.

The Cadillac was reported stolen about a half-hour after the accident, Riverhead police Det. Mark Stromski said.

It is not clear where Tfelt was going to or from when she was struck, police said. Tfelt, who had a 20-month-old son, had struggled with addiction in the past, said her sister, Jennifer Liotta of Selden. "She loved her son," Liotta said. "She was trying to get her life back together." Liotta said she had been taking care of her nephew while Tfelt sought an apartment and job.

Liotta will probably get permanent custody of the child, whose father "doesn't have a stable place for him, but is in the picture," she said.

Tfelt grew up in the Selden area with three older siblings, including Liotta, and went to Newfield High School. "All of us were really close," Liotta said. "We gave her a little bit of tough love but we were very close."

Police said anyone with information about the crash may call them at 631-727-4500, ext. 326.

With John Valenti

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