Driver in fatal Greenport hit and run sentenced to 3 to 9 years in prison

The driver in a hit-and-run crash that claimed the life of a Peconic Landing woman last July was sentenced to 3 to 9 years in prison on Tuesday.

Denilson Eduardo Gomez Jolon, 20, of Greenport pleaded guilty to second-degree manslaughter and other charges last month, court records show.

He was sentence by Suffolk County Supreme Court Justice Timothy Mazzei on Tuesday.

Mr. Gomez Jolon was initially charged with leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death and unlicensed operation of a motor vehicle after he was spotted by police returning to Greenport 12 hours after the July 13 crash that claimed the life of 87-year-old Peconic Landing resident Elaine Schwartz.

Mr. Gomez Jolon said at his July arraignment that he is a native of Guatemala who had lived in the United States for 14 months. He worked on a landscaping crew and said in a statement to police that he is “here illegally.” Unlicensed, he said he bought his 2004 Honda Civic about five months before the crash, court records show.

Second-degree manslaughter is a class C non-violent felony carrying a maximum sentence of 15 years in prison. Mr. Gomez Jolon also pleaded guilty to a felony charge for leaving the scene of the crash and infractions for driving without a license or insurance.

Ms. Schwartz was struck while crossing at the corner of Front and Third streets, police said. Mr. Gomez Jolon was making a right turn onto Front Street from Third Street.

Ms. Schwartz was transported to Stony Brook Eastern Long Island Hospital where she succumbed to her injuries, police said.

Mr. Gomez Jolon said in a three-page statement to police, written with the assistance of a translator, that he was driving to a dentist appointment at the time of the crash.

“As I make the turn I see a woman stepping out into the street,” his statement reads. “I tried to stop, but I couldn’t. It was too late …. I got scared, I thought I killed her. So I drove away.”

Ms. Schwartz was a renowned traveler who visited 81 countries since retiring at age 66, according to a profile published in 2018.

For 41 years, Ms. Schwartz was a special education curriculum consultant for schools in Dix Hills and taught in Adelphi University’s graduate program in special education. She lived at Peconic Landing in Greenport.

In 2017, “she went kayaking literally at both ends of the globe, in Antarctica in January and the Arctic in August,” according to the profile.

“Exploring and going into the wilderness just gives you a wonderful feeling,” Ms. Schwartz said in a 2018 interview.

Upon her passing last year, Peconic Landing CEO Robert Syron called her a “vital part” of the community.