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Suffolk judge yanks plea deal in deadly hit-and-run case

Thomas Costa, 32, of Coram, is accused of leaving the scene of a crash.
Thomas Costa, 32, of Coram, is accused of leaving the scene of a crash. Photo Credit: Suffolk County DA's Office

A Suffolk County judge snatched back a plea deal Monday for a Coram man accused in a deadly hit-and-run crash that killed a jogger after the suspect allegedly lied during a pre-sentencing interview, according to a Jan. 13 Newsday report.

Thomas Costa, 32, was to be sentenced Monday to between 2 to 6 years in prison after admitting he left the scene of a crash last June. During the scheduled court appearance, State Supreme Court Judge Fernando Camacho said he was withdrawing Costa’s offer and told Costa he will now be heading for trial.

Costa pleaded guilty in December to striking 56-year-old Karen Benjamin with his car and leaving the scene. The Mount Sinai woman died in July after remaining in a coma for more than three weeks.

Monday, Camacho cited Costa’s statements during a pre-sentencing interview with probation officials as the main reason for withdrawing the promised sentencing offer.

According to Newsday, Costa lied to a probation officer about his criminal history and told them he didn’t realize he hit anyone, even though he admitted in court to knowingly leaving the crash scene.

Costa’s guilty plea, the judge said, would be withdrawn and the case will continue to trial. It was unclear exactly when that would happen.

A spokesman for the Suffolk County district attorney’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.