Written by Victoria Caruso-Davis Friday, 28 May 2010 00:00
A Hempstead man driving without a license was arrested in connection with a hit-and-run accident that occurred May 19 on Old Country Road in Carle Place. Police allege that Elias Garcia, 26, an undocumented citizen from Guatemala, was the driver of a Toyota Camry that struck and seriously injured four teenage girls and then left the scene.
According to officers from Nassau County’s 3rd Precinct and Homicide Squad, the teenagers, all 16, were preparing to cross Old Country Road, southbound, from the northwest corner of its intersection at Glen Cove Road, when Garcia allegedly jumped the curb and struck them, knocking two down and causing two to land on the hood of the car. Police allege that the car then proceeded across several lanes of traffic into the south side (eastbound lanes) of Old Country Road, where the two girls fell from the hood and into the roadway. Witnesses report the operator stopped his vehicle twice and then left the scene.
Garcia was closely followed by 45-year-old Upper Brookville’s Steven Lo Verde, a good Samaritan who, while stopped at a traffic light, saw the accident unfold. Authorities state Lo Verda pursued the driver and, at Clinton Road, in the vicinity of Stewart Avenue, removed him from his vehicle and took his keys until Garden City Police arrived.
Det. Lt. Kevin Smith of the Nassau County Police Department stated that three of the injured pedestrians were transported to Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola and one was transported to Nassau University Medical Center in East Meadow. All four girls attend Herricks High School.
The accident, which occurred at 6:17 p.m., shut down Old Country Road, eastbound, from Washington Avenue through Glen Cove Road, for approximately three hours.
Garcia was charged with assault – 3rd degree; reckless endangerment – 2nd degree (two counts); endangering the welfare of a child (four counts); reckless driving; leaving the scene of accident with an injury; and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle. He was arraigned May 20 in First District Court, Hempstead and is being held in Nassau County Jail on $1.5 million bond or cash. At press time, Garcia, who is being represented by the Legal Aid Society of Nassau County, was scheduled to return to court May 25.