Arrest In Fatal Hit-And-Run
A Huntington Station man arrested Wednesday is accused of killing a man with his car and leaving the scene. The arrest came after a month-long investigation.
Suffolk County Police Vehicular Crimes Unit detectives arrested Richard Wright, 27, at his home after DNA evidence and car damage consistent with the accident linked Wright to last month’s tragedy, Det. Sgt. James Madden said.
Wright was charged with leaving the scene of an incident without reporting involving a fatality, a class D felony, police said.
Just after 3 a.m. on Aug. 4, police said, Wright was driving a silver Mercury Grand Marquis down New York Avenue near 12th Street when he struck and killed Reinaldo Velasquez-Yanes, 25, of Huntington Station.
After detectives located Wright’s car, which had front-end damage consistent with the car involved in the accident, they impounded the vehicle and obtained a search warrant to inspect the car.
Detectives were able to match car parts left at the crime scene with missing parts from Wright’s vehicle. DNA evidence recovered from the impounded vehicle helped solidify a suspect.
“It was a very scientific type of case… They’re not easy. I can’t praise the crime lab enough, collecting evidence and responding to the scene and getting DNA from it. It’s a textbook case,” Madden said.
According to Madden, Wright told police when he was arrested outside of his home Wednesday morning that he had been “nervous” at the time of the accident and “didn’t know what to do.”
Witnesses said after the accident that Velasquez-Yanes was leaving the bar at La Hacienda restaurant and was crossing the street to catch a ride home with a friend.
Wright was arraigned in First District Court in Central Islip on Wednesday, police said.
The Suffolk Vehicular Crimes Unit was installed in January, Madden said. The unit recently collared a suspect in a fatal hit-and-run accident in Dix Hills where a driver, who allegedly had been reaching for a beverage, struck and killed a bicyclist and drove off.