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Family Of L.I. Woman Killed In Hit-And-Run Crash Shaken In Court

Karen Benjamin, 56, Struck On June 23, Remained Comatose Until Her Death
Karen Benjamin died a month after she was hit by a hit-and-run driver in Mount Sinai, Long Island. (credit: handout)

Karen Benjamin died a month after she was hit by a hit-and-run driver in Mount Sinai, Long Island. (credit: handout)

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CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — A Long Island man accused in a hit-and-run accident that left a mother of two dead has pleaded not guilty.

As WCBS 880′s Sophia Hall reported Wednesday, Karen Benjamin, 56, was struck by a BMW as she was jogging in Mount Sinai on June 23.

She suffered a severe head injury and remained comatose until she died a month later, 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported.

According to prosecutors, Thomas Costa, 31, was behind the wheel of the BMW that hit Benjamin.

Tom Costa in court July 31, 2013 (James Carbone/Pool)

Tom Costa in court July 31, 2013 (James Carbone/Pool)

Costa has been charged with leaving the scene of an accident and speeding. Car parts and DNA left on the vehicle led to his arrest, police said.

“I think it would bring some peace to the family if we actually knew what occurred. Unfortunately, because he was found afterwards, we don’t know whether he was in fact impaired or whether he was high or texting,” Benjamin’s brother, Bob Freedman, told Hall.

Benjamin’s daughter was shaking as she left the Suffolk County courthouse on Wednesday, Hall reported.

“For my family and myself, this is not easy,” Lindsay Benjamin said. “Greatest mom in the world. She was everything. … My sister and I were so close to her. How do you go through your day?”

Benjamin said her mother loved to run and competed in many marathons.

“I’m going to run the half marathon in honor of her. Everything I can do just to feel close to her,” Lindsay Benjamin told Hall.

Costa pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Wednesday.

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