LEVITTOWN - A retired NYPD officer pleaded guilty today and apologized to the victim’s family for a hit-and-run that killed a girl with Down syndrome.

Police say Michael Elardo struck and killed 13-year-old Bryanna Soplin on Hempstead Turnpike in Levittown two months ago. Police believe the teen was trying to walk to her grandparents’ house.

The 48-year-old says he believed he hit a traffic cone when driving on Hempstead Turnpike at Gardiners Avenue in June. Elardo pleaded guilty in court to the charge of leaving the scene of an incident and agreed to 1 1/3 to 4 years behind bars.

“I hope and I pray that they can find some closure today with me admitting I'm guilty,” Elardo said in court.

Soplin’s family said they would have liked a harsher punishment, but they are glad Elardo took responsibility.

Prosecutors say red-light cameras proved the traffic light was yellow when the accident happened. However, they say Elardo’s blood alcohol level can never be known.

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Both Nassau and Suffolk district attorneys are working for tougher punishments in hit-and-run cases. They believe a person should not get the benefit of a lesser charge if the driver's blood alcohol level cannot be proven.

Elardo will officially be sentenced on Oct. 17.