MINEOLA, N.Y. - Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a Queens man has pleaded guilty to manslaughter and several other charges related to a fatal hit-and-run car crash that took place in April 2016 on Hempstead Turnpike. The defendant struck and killed a taxi driver and injured a passenger in the car he was driving.
Duke Obule, 24, pleaded guilty today in front of Supervising Judge Christopher Quinn to:
- Manslaughter in the 2nd Degree (a C felony)
- Assault in the 2nd Degree (a D violent felony)
- Leaving the Scene of an Incident without Reporting Resulting in Death (a D felony)
- Leaving the Scene of an Incident without Reporting Resulting in Physical Injury (an A misdemeanor)
- Assault in the 3rd Degree (an A misdemeanor)
- Aggravated Unlicensed Operating of a Motor Vehicle in the 2nd Degree (an unclassified misdemeanor)
“Paul Mitacek was a hardworking father driving a taxi on Hempstead Turnpike when he was struck and killed by this grossly reckless defendant,” DA Singas said. “Duke Obule’s outrageous conduct, driving his BMW at more than 100 miles per hour, cost an innocent man his life, which is why we charged the highest felony the law allows. I hope that this defendant’s admission of guilt and top-count plea offers some measure of comfort to Mr. Mitacek’s family.”
DA Singas said that at approximately 4:16 a.m. on April 23, 2016, Obule was driving eastbound on Hempstead Turnpike at speeds up to 105 MPH, in a 2016 BMW, with a 20-year old female passenger in the front seat. The defendant’s license was suspended and he had been advised that he could not drive in a Queens courtroom on April 7, 2016.
The defendant was traveling from a hookah lounge in Farmingdale prior to crashing into the victim’s 2009 Chevrolet Impala taxi cab. The impact, which was caught on surveillance video, pushed the taxi into a telephone pole on the corner of Hempstead Turnpike and Lincoln Road. The taxi nearly wrapped around the pole, and the victim, Paul Mitacek, 47, from Elmont, died in the car. Mr. Mitacek was the father of three children between the ages of 7 and 12 and was working as a taxi driver for a local cab company at the time of the crash.
After the crash, the defendant exited the car and ran from the scene, abandoning his passenger who was not able to move because of her injuries. The passenger was carried to a bench by Good Samaritans and later taken to the hospital with a broken ankle when the police arrived at the scene. Obule was found near the scene less than an hour later and was allegedly carrying the key to the BMW.
The trial was scheduled to begin today and the Prosecution is recommending the maximum sentence of 7-1/2 to 15 years on the manslaughter charge.
Assistant District Attorneys Patrick Brand and Katie Zizza of DA Singas’ Vehicular Crimes Bureau are prosecuting the case. Obule is represented by Jason Russo, Esq.