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L.I. Family Urges Hit-And-Run Driver To Surrender

Karen Benjamin Is In A Coma After Undergoing Brain Surgery

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MOUNT SINAI, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island woman was struck and left in the road to die over the weekend, and on Monday, her family was seeking justice as she battled for her life.

As CBS 2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, Karen Benjamin, 56, of Coram was jogging around 11 a.m. Sunday on Canal Road in Mount Sinai when she was struck by a car, police said. The driver fled the scene.

The medical assistant, mother of two and marathon runner was fighting for her life and was in a coma Monday, after undergoing brain surgery at Stony Brook University Medical Center, her daughter told 1010 WINS’ Mona Rivera.

She suffered head and chest injuries when the speeding car rounded a curve and hit her with such force that she was left unrecognizable. The driver never slowed.

“They’re very worried about her brain. She’s pretty beat up — her legs, her arms, her right side, all broken bones,” said Lindsay Benjamin, one of the victim’s two daughters. “I’m so shocked and sad. My mom doesn’t deserve this, no one deserves this.”

“I just don’t understand why someone would do this,” said Lindsey Benjamin. “Just stop – stop. That’s all.”

When she runs, Benjamin keeps close to home on neighborhood streets, wears bright colors, and stays on shoulders or sidewalks.

“She’s been doing it since she was 13,” Lindsey Benjamin said. “She knows exactly what and what not to do. It was 11 a.m., it’s really sad that the driver just couldn’t stop.”

“This was so sudden, and so hard to understand,” said Karen Benjmain’s brother, Robert Freedman.

It took police eight long hours to identify Karen Benjamin. She went out without her identification.

“That’s why it’s so important to carry identification, and I understand they were frantic in calling all the local hospitals,” said Linda Ottaviano of the Greater Long Island Running Club.

The club feels the family’s pain.

“The situation is extremely, extremely dire right now,” Lindsey Benjamin said.

She urged the driver to surrender.

“I want them to stop being a coward,” she said.

“How do you survive knowing that you did that to someone?” she added, speaking to WCBS 880’s Mike Xirinachs. “I just don’t know how you could be so heartless. I mean, I don’t know what’s going on in their head, but that’s heartless.”

The offending vehicle was described as a 2002 or 2003 BMW light-colored tan sedan or station wagon. The vehicle had front and passenger side damage, police said.

Residents have been working with Suffolk County police to identify the car.

Anyone with information on the car or the driver is asked to call Suffolk County police Crime Stoppers anonymously at (800) 220-TIPS.

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