MINEOLA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) – A man charged with killing a taxi driver and father of three was sentenced Wednesday.
As CBS2’s Jennifer McLogan reported, 47-year-old Paul Mitacek, of Oceanside, was a scout leader, active in his children’s little league and an avid fisherman. But his life was cut short in an instant.
“That was the hardest day of my life, sitting them down on the sofa and just telling them that their father was dead,” ex-wife Deirdre Mitacek said.
“My heart’s broken, I miss my son. Life is changed for all of us,” mother Paulette Mitacek said.
In April 2016, Duke Obule, of Cambria Heights, Queens, was clocked at 105 miles per hour racing down Hempstead Turnpike in Franklin Square when he slammed into Mitacek, just feet from his Ollies Taxi dispatch, McLogan reported.
“He strikes and kills Paul. He also had a front seat passenger in his car – the defendant did,” Nassau County Assistant District Attorney Michael Bushwack said. “And he left them both to die, he cowardly ran.”
Mitacek died instantly. The passenger survived. Ubule was driving without a license.
“Of course, the irony is that Paul was driving a cab. If he had decided to use an Uber or a cab, none of this would have happened,” Dierdre said.
“I take full responsibility… I am not a monster… I made a horrible mistake… I want to be a productive citizen when I get out,” Ubule acknowledge in court.
Amid sobs from the family, he was given five to 10 years behind bars in a plea deal, and apologized to the children.
“It’s devastating to them. They have been through grief counseling and everything, but as you can imagine they go through periods of depression,” Deirdre said.
“He made a mistake, he didn’t wake up that morning and intentionally say, ‘I am going to kill Paul Mitacek.’ So I can’t hold anything against this young man,” Paulette said.
Perhaps the most poignant moment of the sentencing came when the victim’s mother turned to Obule – the man who killed her son – and told him, “our family forgives you, and Paul would have to, because that is the way he was raised,” McLogan reported.
Mitacek’s children delivered a message to the court, saying their father left the world a better place and taught them to forgive.