CENTRAL ISLIP, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A Long Island man accused of hitting and killing a young mother after her car ran out of gas on the side of the roadway pleaded not guilty at First District Court in Central Islip.
As WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall reported, Peter Torrillo, 48, looked disheveled as his stood before a judge and pleaded not guilty to hit-and-run charges on Tuesday.
Torrillo was arrested Monday for the Nov. 2 incident on Montauk Highway in Eastport and has been charged with leaving the scene of a fatal incident and leaving the scene of a serious injury incident.
Erika Strebel, 27, was fatally struck round 9 p.m. while standing on the side of the road near her Jeep, which had run out of gas. A man she was with was airlifted and hospitalized with injuries.
Her family cried as they left the courtroom and were too upset to speak, Hall reported.
Prosecutors said Torrillo tried to cover up the crash by taking his pickup truck to a Queens body shop to be repaired. Authorities said the vehicle involved in the hit-and-run sustained front end damage.
But Torrillo’s attorney Brian DeSesa claims his client has been in and out of psychiatric facilities for years for treatment of bipolar disorder and depression.
Torrillo checked out of a psychiatric ward Monday to surrender to detectives, DeSesa added.
“It’s a horrible day for everybody. Our thoughts are with the family of the victims here. Our client has been cooperative with law enforcement,” DeSesa said.
Authorities said forensic evidence at the crash scene matches Torrillo’s pickup truck.
Strebel was a single mother to a 5-year-old boy named Aiden, Hall reported.
Torrillo reportedly knows the Strebel family.
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