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Search On For Driver Who Left Legally Blind Man Dead In East Patchogue

EAST PATCHOGUE, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- East Patchogue residents were shocked and angry Monday, after a legally blind pedestrian was struck and killed in a hit-and-run.

As CBS2's Tony Aiello reported, neighbors on Monday were standing in shock at the spot where the elderly pedestrian was killed Sunday morning on Main Street. They questioned how the driver could leave the scene.

"This was something unheard of years ago," said Daniel Derienzis of East Patchogue. "Quite frankly, it bothers me."

Derienzis and his wife said they often think twice about trying to navigate the busy roadway.

"Crossing the streets is terrible, you know," Derienzis said. "You can't trust the drivers anymore."

Most businesses were closed at the time of the early-morning hit-and-run, but the surveillance camera was rolling on a neighboring used auto sales lot.

"He knows he hit him and he just kept going," said Patrick Castellanos of the NJS Credit Centre. "No remorse, no regard emorse for life – it's just terrible."

The surveillance camera captured the collision that killed Warren Karstendick, 64, as he walked with a cane alongside the road's bicycle lane. The driver was seen behind the wheel just moments afterward, continuing on with obvious front-end damage to his sport-utility vehicle.

Man Killed in Hit-and-Run Crash East Patchogue by Suffolk CountyPolice on YouTube

"The vehicle that hit him was a 2002 to 2005 blue or dark-colored SUV – Ford Explorer, actually," said Suffolk County police Commissioner Timothy Sini.

Sini said his detectives have been scouring local repair shops and hoped the driver would turn himself in.

"It obstructs our investigation, does not provide closure to the families involved, and it just delays the inevitable," Sini said.

Meanwhile, residents said they are fed up with the trend of hit-and-run drivers leaving the scene.

"I think it's horrible, especially for a senior citizen, that's disgusting," said Anne Krapve-Shirley of Suffolk County. "He deserves maximum penalty."

Investigators are asking anyone with information on this hit-and-run to call the Major Case Unit at 631-852-6553 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls are confidential.

Karstendick's family members did not want to speak, but police said relatives told them Karstendick would usually ask someone to escort him. The question remained unanswered as to why he did not on this occasion.

The New York State Senate has already passed a measure increasing penalties for hit-and-run drivers. But the bill has stalled in committee in the state Assembly.

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