STONY BROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Police are investigating a hit-and-run crash that left a Stony Brook University graduate student dead.
Artem G. Ayzen, 25, of Brooklyn was rollerblading on North Country Road around 10:55 p.m. Wednesday when he was struck by a vehicle, police said. The driver fled the scene.
Ayzen was taken to Stony Brook University Hospital where he died from his injuries.
Suffolk County Police Sgt. James Madden said the driver must have known that a person was hit.
“You would see the rollerblades, you would know it’s a person,” Madden told WCBS 880’s Sophia Hall.
As TV 10/55 Long Island Bureau Chief Richard Rose reported, tears flowed inside the electrical engineering department at the university following the news that Ayzen had been killed.
“I don’t know, you hit and ran, just how much that delayed him getting to the hospital. Just think about that,” said Stony Brook University student Brent Schiller.
Ayzen was from Latvia and was a post-graduate student working on cutting-edge 3-D aerospace sensor systems, Rose reported.
His professor called for the hit-and-run driver to surrender.
“It was possible to save his life. It’s much better to save a life, now there’s no way back,” said Professor Michael Gouzman.
The vehicle is described by police as a dark-colored SUV with front-end damage.
“If anyone lives in the area that notices a car that they see all the time and has new front-end damage, please call us,” said Madden.
North Country Road is winding and narrow with fast-moving traffic. Bicyclists told Rose drivers along the stretch of road don’t see them.
“Careless, reckless, too much tweeting and texting and playing the radio and whatever else they’re doing,” said bicyclist Manny Rosenkrantz.
Neighbors horrified by what they saw right outside their homes said they’re fed up with what they called a speedway.
“You can see the problem, the road is crazy. The speed limit is 35 miles an hour, but people fly around the bend at least 50,” said Stony Brook resident Lourdes Vercecanna.
“People are flying, so I guess it takes a death for this to get the attention it deserves, unfortunately for that poor family,” said Stony Brook resident Catherine Seeley.
Residents said the speeding is such a problem that for the last two years they’ve asked the Town of Brookhaven to install flashing speed signs, but said they have heard nothing back.
CBS 2 reached out to the Town of Brookhaven for a response, but has not heard back.
Detectives are asking anyone who may have witnessed or has information on the crash to call the Vehicular Crime Unit at 631-852-6555 or anonymously to Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls will be kept confidential.
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