Seong Hoon Baek, a 21-year-old from Flushing, Queens, was riding his bike near the school on Route 347 when police say he was hit by a pickup truck around 9:45 p.m. Thursday. The impact knocked his shoes off and launched him from his bike.
Baek, known as David to his friends, was rushed to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. That stretch of road is known for serious and sometimes fatal incidents.
Detectives say the driver, 30-year-old Michael Tarduno Jr., fled the scene of the crash in his Ford F-350 pickup truck.
Witnesses were able to give police the license plate number and after an extensive search, police say they located the vehicle with drugs inside several hours later at Tarduno’s Setauket home and he was placed under arrest.
Tarduno claimed he’s innocent, saying he believed he hit a guard rail.
He’s been charged with driving while impaired by drugs, criminal possession of a controlled substance and leaving the scene of a fatal Accident. Bail has been set at $200,000.
Baek was a double major in biochemistry and economics, as well as a member of the Korean Christian Fellowship.
“That’s just wow, I don’t have any words. I don’t know why anyone would hit-and-run like that,” said junior Nia Romin.
“It’s a tragedy that someone would drive while under the influence and leave the scene so it angers me,” said Gerrold Stein, Dean of Students.
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