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The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman

The Student News Site of Stony Brook University

The Statesman


    Student a victim of fatal hit and run

    A 21-year-old Stony Brook senior was the victim of a fatal hit-and-run accident at approximately 9:45 p.m. on Thursday on Route 347, according to the Suffolk County Police Department.

    Seong Hoon Baek, who went by the name of David, was struck by a 2001 Ford F-350 pickup truck as he was riding his bicycle west on Nesconset Highway, also known as Route 347, on the right hand shoulder just past Pond Path. The vehicle was being driven by Michael J. Tarduno, Jr., 30, of Setauket, who continued driving.

    A witness of the accident who was on the roadway at the same time followed the truck as it continued on Route 347 before making a right on Nicolls Road. The witness saw the license plate number, stopped so he could write it down and gave it to the responding police officers.

    “He could have faded into the fog and never been able to find him,” said Greg McVeigh, detective lieutenant of the Suffolk County Police Department, Sixth Squad. “It sure allowed us to jump forward. [The witness] is a very good person for doing so.”

    Baek, who was from Flushing, was a double major in economics and biochemistry who had started at Stony Brook in 2008.

    “[He] was well known and highly regarded by faculty, classmates and friends in O’Neill College, where he lived on campus,” Stony Brook University President Samuel L. Stanley, Jr. said in an email to the campus community.

    Baek was a member of the Korean Christian Fellowship.

    “David was a truly kindhearted young man,” said Moses Chung, 26, a 2009 Stony Brook graduate who was a senior and in the Korean Christian Fellowship when Baek was a freshman. “He was an outgoing person who just loved to have fun. He was a young man who was dedicated to following Jesus Christ, and so I assume he must be in heaven. He has surely made the most of his 21 years. He will be missed by many.”

    Baek was transported to Stony Brook University Medical Center by ambulance, and pronounced dead at 11:07 p.m.

    The truck was found at 12:40 a.m. in Setauket, in the vicinity of the driver’s home, McVeigh said. Tarduno’s was apprehended and arrested.

    McVeigh said the reason for Tarduno leaving the scene of the crime is currently unknown. Tarduno was charged with leaving the scene of a fatal accident, driving while impaired with the use of drugs and criminal possession of a controlled substance in the seventh degree. His arraignment is scheduled for Nov. 18 at the First District Court in Central Islip.

    The District Attorney’s office will continue to look into this accident with the detectives of the Sixth Precinct.

    “The District Attorney’s office will prosecute the case, and as part of that prosecution they will interact or convene or discuss the case in depth with my detectives who are investigating that,” McVeigh said. The detective lieutenant added that in the reviewing of the case, additional charges may become part of the arrest, such as vehicular manslaughter.

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