Press Releases

Posted on: June 13, 2016

Queens Driver Charged with Death of Taxi Driver and Fleeing Scene of Fatal Crash

Duke Obule was allegedly driving 105 MPH before he crashed into cab and killed driver MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a Queens man was arraigned today on indictment charges related to a fatal hit-and-run car crash that took place on April 23 on Hempstead Turnpike, when the defendant allegedly struck and killed a taxi driver and injured a passenger in the car he was driving. Duke Obule, 23, was arraigned today before Court of Claims Judge Alan Honorof on the following charges: •Manslaughter in the 2nd Degree (a C felony) •Assault in the 2nd Degree (a D violent felony) •Leaving the Scene of an Incident without Reporting Resulting in Death (a D felony) •Leaving the Scene of an Incident without Reporting Resulting in Physical Injury (an A misdemeanor) •Reckless Endangerment in the 2nd Degree (an A misdemeanor) •Assault in the 3rd Degree (an A misdemeanor) •Reckless Driving (an unclassified misdemeanor) •Aggravated Unlicensed Operating of a Motor Vehicle in the 2nd Degree (an unclassified misdemeanor) •Aggravated Unlicensed Operating of a Motor Vehicle in the 3rd Degree (an unclassified misdemeanor) The defendant pleaded not guilty and is due back in court June 28. Bail was continued at $500,000 bond or $250,000 cash. If convicted on the top count, the defendant faces a maximum of 7-1/2 to 15 years in prison. “It is unthinkable that a driver would travel more than 100 mph at any hour of the day or night on Hempstead Turnpike, with its 35 mph speed limit and around-the-clock traffic,” DA Singas said. “Mr. Mitacek was simply doing his job driving a taxi on Hempstead Turnpike when the defendant’s BMW slammed his cab into a pole and stole his life. That kind of speed shows a complete disregard for the lives of anyone who was on the road and he will be prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” DA Singas said that at approximately 4:16 a.m. on April 23, Obule was driving eastbound at a high rate of speed on Hempstead Turnpike in a 2016 BMW with a 20-year old female passenger in the front seat. The defendant was allegedly traveling from a hookah lounge in Farmingdale when he drove the BMW up to 105 miles per hour on Hempstead Turnpike prior to crashing into the victim’s car. The impact, which was caught on surveillance video, pushed the taxi into a telephone pole on the corner of Hempstead Turnpike and Lincoln Road. The taxi nearly wrapped around the pole, and the victim, Paul Mitacek, 47, from Elmont, died in the car. The victim was driving a 2009 Chevrolet Impala from a local taxi cab company where he was employed. The defendant then allegedly exited the car and ran from the scene. His passenger stayed in the car until the police arrived, and was later taken to the hospital with a broken ankle. Obule was found near the scene less than an hour later and was allegedly carrying the key to the BMW. The defendant currently has an open case in Queens and is due back in court on those charges on June 23. Assistant District Attorneys Patrick Brand and Katie Zizza of DA Singas’ Vehicular Crimes Bureau are prosecuting the case. Obule is represented by Jason Russo, Esq. The charges are merely accusations and the defendant is presumed innocent until and unless found guilty.

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