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Mastic Beach driver kills 1 pedestrian, injures another, cops say

First responders work with two pedestrians who were

First responders work with two pedestrians who were struck by a van on Friday, July 29, 2016 in Mastic Beach; one died, the other was injured. The van driver stayed at the scene at Mastic Road and Riverside Avenue. Credit: Stringer News Service

One man was killed and another injured in Mastic Beach late Friday, when a cargo van struck the two pedestrians, police said.

Thomas Pietsch, 49, of Mastic Beach, was driving a 1994 Ford E-250 van south on Mastic Road just south of Riverside Avenue at 10:25 p.m. when he hit the two men in the roadway, Suffolk County police said.

He was uninjured and stayed at the scene to speak with authorities.

The pedestrians — Billie Benetatos, 35, and Brett Locke, 57, both of Mastic — were taken to Brookhaven Memorial Hospital Medical Center in East Patchogue.

Benetatos died of his injuries. Locke was treated for a broken collarbone.

Benetatos’ cousin said their family was at a loss for words. His death is “devastating,” she said.

“Billie was the . . . kindest, caring, funny person to be around,” said Doreen Benetatos of Mastic. “If you needed him, he would be there to give you the shirt off his back.”

There was no word Saturday on why the men were in the roadway. The vehicle was impounded for a safety check, and the investigation is ongoing, police said.


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