A Long Island man with a lengthy criminal background has been charged by Suffolk County detectives after a 10-month investigation for a hit-and-run crash that seriously a gas station attendant in Huntington, Suffolk County police said Friday.
Michael Charles, 29, of Westbury, was to be arraigned Dec. 6 at First District Court in Central Islip on a charge of leaving the scene of an incident resulting in serious physical injury without reporting. If convicted, he faces up to four years in prison.
The incident, for which Charles is now facing a felony charge, occurred in February 2013. Det. Sgt. James Madden, the commander of the police department’s Vehicular Crimes Unit said it was “good old-fashioned detective work,” that led to Charles becoming a target in their investigation.
“We were notified by his parole officer that he was under arrest in Manhattan,” Madden said. “He was a suspect at that point.”
Suffolk detectives went to Riker’s Island to question Charles last June, where he was being held on the unrelated identity-theft related charges. In late September, a Suffolk County grand jury indicted him in connection with the hit-and-run.
Detectives said Charles was trying to pull out of the Sunoco gas station, at 1888 Jericho Turnpike, when he struck an employee who was standing near the station’s gas pumps.
The victim, Jaffery Syed, 60, of Greenlawn, was found lying on the ground and has been seriously injured. Authorities said he spent four months in the hospital and then spent another few months at a rehab facility. A source said he is staying with family members and he could not be reached Friday afternoon.
Charles, who police said was driving a rented Jeep Grand Cherokee with out-of-state plates, allegedly fled the scene without stopping. He had been reportedly seen by witnesses heading eastbound on Route 25 in Huntington after the crash.
Sources said Charles has a lengthy criminal history and has served time in the state prison and parole system on prior felony convictions.
Charles is still fighting the unrelated identity theft case in Manhattan has pleaded not guilty. In that case, according to Manhattan prosecutors, Charles and a female accomplice were at the Marriot Marquis hotel in Manhattan and tried to pay for $1,600 in food and room charges with a forged credit card. In court documents, police said they found he had 24 forged driver’s licenses with varying names and addresses, as well as an embosser, magnetic card reader and slew of blank or partially printed credit cards.