Spota Calls For Tougher Hit-and-run Penalties

Thomas Spota
Thomas Spota
Thomas Spota during a press conference in July 2012. (Long Island Press)

Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota on Wednesday called for the New York State Legislature to get tough on what he called an “epidemic” of hit-and-run drivers.

While announcing the indictments of three men who allegedly fled the scene of separate car accidents—including two that killed a driver and a pedestrian—Spota criticized existing laws that do more to protect those that flee than drivers that remain at the scene following a crash.

“There is no reconciling the disparity that occurs when drivers who remain at the scene after causing an accident face the possibility of a more severe punishment under our law than drivers who flee” he said. “I urge our state legislators to change the law now.”

In one of the three cases Spota highlighted, 25-year-old Kristopher Busching allegedly slammed into a 17-year-old pedestrian in West Islip on New Year’s Eve, seriously injuring him. After the accident, the North Babylon resident and two accomplices allegedly staged another accident to try to cover up the damage from the first crash.

Two days later, 48-year-old Joseph Plummer was arrested for allegedly hitting and killing a pedestrian celebrating his 50th birthday. Plummer, according to Spota, said he “felt an impact, stopped but didn’t see anything,” while defending why he drove 13 miles to a gas station with a shattered windshield.

And in another case, Spota said 24-year-old Alejandro Padilla smashed into the rear end of a car, propelling the driver into a utility police. The driver, who was on her way to do early morning Christmas shopping on Dec. 22, died the next day.

All three have been charged with leaving the scene of an accident, among other charges.