MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a Farmingdale man was convicted on Friday for his role in a fatal hit and run death on the Southern State Parkway in Oct. 2015.
Wilkens Thelusma, 39, was convicted by a jury of Leaving the Scene of a Fatal Collision (a D felony). The defendant is due back before Supreme Court Justice William Donnino on April 21 for sentencing and faces a maximum of 2-1/3 to seven years in prison. The trial lasted approximately two weeks and the jury deliberated for approximately 90 minutes.
“Hit and run collisions continue to plague our roadways and weak laws do not penalize them sufficiently," DA Singas said. “This driver was involved in fatal crash and simply left the pedestrian to die in the roadway while escaping examination for impairment or intoxication. Our hit and run laws need to change because a driver should not face lower penalties because he fled the scene.”
DA Singas said that at approximately 2:00 am on Oct. 15, 2015, Thelusma was driving a gray 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe eastbound on the Southern State Parkway east of exit 20. While driving in the left lane, the defendant struck and killed 28-year old Rick Munoz, who had, minutes earlier, crashed a box truck into the center median of the parkway and was walking in the lanes of travel.
Thelusma’s vehicle sustained substantial front passenger side damage and the passenger side view mirror was broken off the car by the victim’s body. The defendant left the scene, leaving his side view mirror, as well as other debris from his car, behind. The New York State Police were able to track the vehicle debris back to defendant’s home in Farmingdale. There, they found a gray 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe parked behind a fence in the driveway, which had substantial front passenger side damage and was missing its side view mirror. The victim’s blood and tissue were found on the front and passenger side of the vehicle, including across the passenger side window.
The defendant surrendered to New York State Police on Oct. 18.
Assistant District Attorneys Katie Zizza and Patrick Brand of DA Singas’ Vehicular Crimes Bureau are prosecuting the case. Thelusma is represented by Andrew Quinn, Esq. and Matthew Schieffer, Esq.