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Posted on: August 3, 2017

Queens Driver Sentenced to Five to 10 Years in Prison for Manslaughter & Assault in Fatal Crash

MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a Queens man was sentenced today to five to 10 years in prison for manslaughter and 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. The NCDA recommended a maximum sentence of 7-1/2 to 15 years on the manslaughter charge.

Duke Obule, 24, pleaded guilty on June 7 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)

“This cowardly defendant’s outrageous recklessness cost the life of an innocent and hardworking father of three when he sped into Paul Mitacek’s cab and then fled the scene,” DA Singas said. “This sentence sends a clear message to those who drive with a suspended license, dangerously speed, and leave the scene of a crash that they will face serious consequences for their recklessness. My heart goes out to the Mitacek family for their loss.”

DA Singas said that at approximately 4:16 a.m. on April 23, 2016, Obule was driving eastbound on Hempstead Turnpike, in the rain, 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 on April 7, 2016 in Queens.

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 seven 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 witnesses 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 carrying the key to the BMW.

Assistant District Attorneys Patrick Brand and Katie Zizza of DA Singas’ Vehicular Crimes Bureau prosecuted the case. Obule is represented by Jason Russo, Esq.

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