In June, a 13-year-old girl with Down Syndrome was killed when a motorist struck her on the Hempstead Turnpike. The driver fled but later turned himself, revealing himself to be a former NYPD officer. Now, reversing his earlier plea, Michael Elardo is pleading guilty.

Bryanna Soplin had wandered from her family's Levittown home in the middle of the night, and her relatives believe she may have been trying to visit her grandfather in Hicksville. Her mother Jennifer Curuchaga said that cops told her that "witnesses that saw that Bryanna was actually waiting at the light to turn in order for her to cross the street. They did see that car actually pass through the red light and struck her and just kept going without stopping."

After Elardo's surrender and not guilty plea, his lawyer said at the time, "He did not believe he hit a person. There was an impact, but he did didn't believe he hit anyone. This is one of the most dangerous intersections in the United States." Today, the lawyer said, "He’s not concerned about prison time. He is just concerned about how he is going to live for the rest of his life knowing he took someone off of this earth."

Newsday reports:

[A]fter pleading guilty Wednesday, Elardo approached Curuchaga before leaving the courtroom and apologized to her. As he spoke, Patricia Curuchaga, Bryanna's grandmother, showed him photos of the little girl as both women cried.

Prosecutors had charged Elardo with a felony count of leaving the scene of a fatal crash, also saying they had "credible information" he'd been drinking alcohol at two places before it happened.

Elardo will be sentenced to 1 1/3 to 4 years in prison.