On Wednesday afternoon, DOT officials had met with the pastor at Our Lady Queen of Peace church on Staten Island to discuss the problem of reckless drivers on the street that runs by the church and its school. Rev. Pancrose Kalist warned city officials about the dangerous situation on New Dorp Lane, where crossing guards routinely witness drivers blasting by them and running the red light. Six hours after his meeting, an elderly married couple was killed by a hit-and-run driver with numerous traffic violations who sped through a red light.
Lillian Sabados, 77, and her husband, Peter S. Sabados, 78, were crossing the street around 7:15 p.m. Thanksgiving eve to head to mass and carrying canned goods to donate to the needy. Driver Allmir Lekperic, 26, allegedly ran a red light and killed them with his white Ford Econoline van, then kept driving. Police say he abandoned the blood-stained vehicle a mile and a half away, then called his sister and tried to persuade her to report it stolen. "He and his sister concocted a tale, but eventually realized it wasn't going to work," a police source tells the Daily News. "He hit these people in front of a church. He had to know he would be caught."
Approximately five hours after Rev. Kalist administered last rites to Mr. and Mrs. Sabados (Lillian was pronounced dead at the hospital at 4 a.m.), Lekperic turned himself in. He had been driving with a suspended license since September, and he's had his license suspended 29 times since 2006. Because he turned himself in so long after the arrest, it's unclear whether Lekperic had been driving under the influence, but police did not administer a breath test.
Lekperic is expected to be arraigned today on a variety of charges, and the NYPD may also charge his sister with filing a false police report. A friend of Lekperic tells the News, "Of course, he panicked. In that moment, you don't know how to act. But he acted wrong." A parishioner at Our Lady Queen of Peace church says, "It's just a sin. Here were two people that were coming to church to pray for their grace in God. And to be hit, by a selfish individual, is just a tragedy."