A Floral Park man charged in the Friday night hit-and-run death of a Melville pedestrian took his car to a junkyard in Queens the next morning in an attempt to "conceal and disguise" the vehicle, prosecutors said in court Wednesday.
Harvinder Hothi, 45, of 87-26 Little Neck Pkwy., was arrested Wednesday in the death of Robert Hosking, 85, of Melville. Hothi, charged with leaving the scene of an incident without reporting, involving a fatality, pleaded not guilty and was ordered held on $400,000 bond or $200,000 cash bail before Judge Karen Kerr in First District Court in Central Islip.
Suffolk Assistant District Attorney Marc Lindemann of the Vehicular Crime Unit said Hothi, a deliveryman for Domino's Pizza in Huntington Station, was driving home from work when he struck Hosking as he was crossing Route 110 near West Lyons Street at 8:50 p.m. Friday. Hosking was fatally injured and Hothi fled the scene, police said.
Hothi's public defender said: "My client is very remorseful. He intends to fully cooperate . . . and do whatever he can to help the family of the victim."
But Lindemann said that the morning after hitting Hosking, Hothi took his 1997 Toyota Corolla to a junkyard near Citi Field in Flushing, Queens, where "he paid someone to attempt to conceal and disguise his vehicle" -- having the car repaired and repainted.
Lindemann said, however, that investigators had recovered parts from the Toyota at the accident scene and when confronted and arrested by Vehicular Crime detectives, Hothi gave "a full confession" to hitting Hosking.
Investigators had described the vehicle that struck Hosking as green and said there was damage to the passenger-side front end, side-view mirror and windshield.
After the crash, Suffolk police said, volunteers from Melville Rescue took Hosking to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow, where he died Saturday.
Outside the courtroom, Hothi's wife, Kulvir, 35, a nurse, said of her husband:, "He said he didn't know." Kulvir Hothi, who came to court with the couple's two children, described her husband as "hardworking." She added: "He said something hit his car. He was driving. He didn't know anything."
Hosking's daughter, Amy Hosking, said in a brief phone interview: "I'm just kind of in shock. . . . I love my dad. I don't know what to say."