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Fatal Hit-and-run Suspect Pleads Not Guilty
A Coram man has been indicted on charges that he struck and killed a 56-year-old jogger in a Mount Sinai hit-and-run crash last month, Suffolk County prosecutors said.
Thomas Costa pleaded not guilty Wednesday at Suffolk County court to charges of speeding and leaving the scene of an accident without reporting.
Prosecutors said the 31-year-old suspect hit Karen Benjamin, also of Coram, while she was jogging on Canal Road on June 23. The victim died of her injuries three weeks later.
“It was the victim, Karen Benjamin, who told us who her killer was … in that her DNA was in the blood found on the BMW,” District Attorney Tom Spota said.
After the crash, Costa allegedly drove his BMW with a smashed windshield and missing side view mirror to his parents’ house and told them it had been vandalized while he was in a Patchogue night club.
Vehicle Crimes Unit detectives tracked the suspect down with the help of a witness who partially described the car, a forensic analysis of car parts at the scene and a canvass of the neighborhood that uncovered the car in the suspect’s parents’ backyard, authorities said.
Costa is due back in court Aug. 6.