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Nassau County District Attorney Kathleen Rice announced that Joseph Kohler, 78, of Plainview, has been sentenced to 2 1/3 to 7 years in prison by a Nassau County judge after leaving the scene of a fatal hit-and-run that left a former Marymount Manhattan College professor dead.

Kohler was convicted by a jury of Leaving the Scene of Incident With a Fatality and Reckless Driving after a 7-day trial in February.

Rice said that at about 8 p.m. on March 31, 2007, Kohler was driving his 1991 Lincoln Mark VII in the westbound lane of Old Country Road in Plainview when he ran a red light at Lester Place and struck Gurcharan Singh, 78, of Plainview, who was walking to a nearby Sikh temple. The light was red long enough for Singh to walk halfway across the five-lane road before he was struck. Kohler then fled the scene and returned to his home. Singh, a leader in Long Island's Sikh community, died from multiple fractures and head trauma later that night.

"Mr. Kohler will now suffer the consequences of his cowardly actions," Rice said. "I only hope that Dr. Singh's family can take solace in knowing Mr. Kohler received the maximum sentence."

Handling the case for the District Attorney's Office is Assistant District Attorney Anna Acquafredda of the County Court Trial Bureau. Representing the defendant is Charles Hochbaum, Esq.


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