The Island Now

Police arrest hit-and-run suspect

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Posted: Wednesday, August 15, 2012 3:54 pm

Nassau County Police arrested a Williston Park man on Tuesday for the hit-and-run incident that killed Albertson resident Dean LaLima early Sunday morning in Williston Park, Nassau County Police said.

Raymond Kalenka, 45, of 86 Yale Street in Williston Park, was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident with death. He was to be arraigned in 1st District Court in Hempstead on Wednesday.

Police said the arrest occurred after they received a tip in response to a Crime Stoppers bulletin issued on Monday. That bulletin showed a picture of a Series ‘C’ Mercedes Benz, identifying it as the car investigators were seeking. A police spokesperson declined to disclose how the police identified the vehicle.

Nassau County Police detectives said LaLima, 41, was found lying in the roadway at Syracuse Street and Broad Street at 4:10 a.m. on Aug. 12. He had been struck by an unknown vehicle traveling northbound on Broad Street, police said. He was pronounced dead by a Nassau County Ambulance Advanced Medical Technician at 4:20 a.m.

LaLima was the long-time manager and host of Grimaldi’s Pizza in Garden City. The accident was the second tragedy to strike the popular eatery within the past year.

Last November, Russell Ciolli, the restaurant’s owner a close a friend of LaLima’s, died suddenly.

Members of the business community in Garden City were mourning the loss of LaLima this week.

“Dean was a great friend of not only the [Garden City] Chamber of Commerce. He was a friend of many chamber members and residents around the village,” said Althea Robinson, executive director of the Garden City Chamber of Commerce. “He will be very sorely missed by many of us.”

Susan Eigl, senior real estate specialist at The Donnelly Group in Garden City,  said she became friends with LaLima after meeting him through Ciolli.

“It’s very shocking. He was a very warm, friendly loving person,” she said. “He was a big personna at Grimaldi’s, very accommodating, very good at his job. I’m just hoping they’ll find out who did this.”

“It was a horrific, tragic incident and my prayers go out to the family,” said Williston Park Mayor Paul Ehrbar.

Cassidy Funeral Home at 156 Willis Ave., Mineola is handling the funeral arrangements for LaLima.

A funeral mass will be held at St. Aidan Church on Friday at 10 a.m. Burial will follow at Holy Rood Cemetery. In lieu of flowers, memorial donations to the North Shore Animal League are requested.

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