The driver in a hit-and-run accident that killed a Syracuse University student in February will not face a hearing from the New York state Department of Motor Vehicles that would have determined whether to revoke his license, the department decided last week.
Edward MacKenzie, 49, of Ilion, N.Y., was driving the car that hit and killed Jamie Klemczak, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences, on the New York State Thruway in Herkimer County on Feb. 20. The state police have not charged MacKenzie with anything and the investigation is still ongoing.
The DMV’s safety hearing review board decided that no known circumstances surrounding the accident suggested ‘careless and negligent’ behavior on the part of the driver, MacKenzie’s lawyer, George Aney, told the Utica Observer-Dispatch. And the DMV has decided to close the case.
Aney could not be reached for comment by The Daily Orange as of Tuesday evening.
The decision by the DMV will not affect the state police investigation. Police are awaiting autopsy and toxicology reports on Klemczak, as well as forensic reports about MacKenzie’s vehicle, said Frank Spatto, a state police investigator.
The lower portion of MacKenzie’s car was damaged in the accident, making it a possibility that Klemczak was already on the ground at the time of the accident, Spatto said.
‘We’re looking into it,’ Spatto said. ‘We still don’t know the exact position of the victim.’
Police are still unsure as to whether Klemczak was under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the accident and are awaiting the toxicology report to determine that. A portion of a case of beer was found in the backseat of Klemczak’s vehicle, but no cans were open, so it was unclear if she was drinking the beer, Spatto said.
Klemczak was struck while she was crossing the Thruway after her vehicle had run off the road and into the median. It remains unclear why Klemczak was crossing the Thruway, but it is thought she was trying to walk back for help, Spatto told The Daily Orange in February.
MacKenzie came forward as the driver who hit Klemczak the Sunday after the accident after reading about it in a newspaper, Aney told The Daily Orange in February. MacKenzie thought he hit an animal that night, but realized what happened when the newspaper reported Klemczak was hit by the same make and model of his car, a silver Toyota Camry, Aney said in February.