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Treacherous Turnpike

Nassau County Police are on the hunt for a hit-and-run driver, who struck and killed a 13-year-old Levittown student along Hempstead Turnpike early Father’s Day morning. 

 

According to police, Wisdom Lane Middle School student Brianna Soplin was crossing at the corner of Gardiners Ave. when she was struck by the driver of a blue Town and Country minivan at 12:02 a.m. on

Sunday. She was immediately rushed to Nassau University Medical Center with head and body trauma and was pronounced dead by hospital staff at 4:30 a.m. 

 

In response to the tragedy, Levittown School District Superintendent Dr. James Grossane informed students, faculty, staff and parents that grief counselors will be made available to students as needed. 

 

"We are extremely saddened to learn of the tragic death of Bryanna Soplin...she was always smiling and had a zest for life," Grossane said. "Bryanna was an enthusiastic participant in school and always lit up the room. She touched all of her classmates and teachers in a special way and the children and staff will miss her deeply. The Levittown Board of Education, administration, faculty and staff extend their deepest condolences to Bryanna's family and friends during this difficult time."

 

News of the ongoing investigation comes just four months after another incident in February, when a 14-year-old Levittown student suffered multiple injuries after being struck in a hit-and-run at the corner of Hempstead Turnpike and Shelter Lane. Last May, another pedestrian—81-year-old Robert Chapman Sr.—died around the intersection of Hempstead Turnpike and Gardiners Avenue.

 

More recently, on Mother’s Day, five teenagers in the nearby Village of Farmingdale tragically lost their lives when their car collided into a GMC Suburban driving along Conklin Street—which is also known as Rt. 24, Fulton Ave. and Hempstead Turnpike in other parts of Nassau County.

 

Over the past 10 years, an average of three pedestrians a year have died along Hempstead Turnpike, making it one of the most dangerous thoroughfares in the state. 

 

Detectives have also indicated that the driver of the minivan failed to stop after the collision and was last seen traveling eastbound on Hempstead Turnpike and then northbound onto the Seaford-Oyster Bay 

Expressway. Police are requesting anyone with information regarding this crime to call Nassau County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-244-8477. All callers will remain anonymous.

 

On June 16, Nassau County Police apprehended Michael Elardo, 48, of Syosset, on charges of leaving the scene of an incident. 

News

A group of Levittown parents are voicing their concerns with letting their children walk to school, since it would mean they would continue to cross Hempstead Turnpike.

 

“My kid has to cross [Hempstead Tpke.] daily without a crossing guard,” said Division Avenue parent Wendy Lantigua. 

 

For Lantigua and others, the dangers of Hempstead Turnpike became all to real after 13-year-old Brianna Soplin was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver, last June. Not to mention the fact that another 14-year-old Levittown student suffered multiple injuries after being struck in hit-and-run, last February. 

On Sept. 14, Hempstead town officials joined family and friends of fallen New York City paramedic Rudy Havelka, to unveil the re-dedication of Birch Lane in Levittown. 

While surviving the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, Havelka wou ld later die of an illness related to his service at Ground Zero.


Sports

The annual One Love Long Island (OLLI) Yoga Festival takes place at the Sands Point Preserve on Sunday, Sept. 21 from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. All profits will be donated to organizations that support survivors of human trafficking, locally and globally. 

 

The festival will unite 16 Long Island yoga studio communities in a round robin of the traditional yogic practice of 108 Sun Salutations from 9:30 a.m. to noon, whose offerings will look to create long-term and sustainable solutions to eradicate the human trafficking epidemic by raising funds and awareness for the cause.  

As a fitness coach and a mother, Melissa Monteforte of Locust Valley knows how important it is to stay healthy, and how difficult it can be for women to make themselves, and their health, a priority. Wanting to help women take charge and feel more in control, she organized the Fit & Healthy Mamas Annual 5K run, now in its third year, which took place on Saturday, Sept. 13 at Eisenhower Park in East Meadow.

 

“I felt like running was the best outlet when I became a mother; it’s such a great way to get fit and feel healthy and I wanted to share that with other moms,” says Monteforte, 31. “I wanted women to feel celebrated, no matter their fitness level, and to put their health first.”


Calendar

IT Board of Ed - September 17

All Star Comedy - September 18

Irreversible Paul Lynde - September 19


Columns

1959: The Year The Music Stopped Playing
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