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Death on Hempstead Turnpike- Retired NYPD Officer Charged

Posted on Jul 03, 2014

Hempstead Turnpike is known for being one of Long Island’s most dangerous roads, causing countless amounts of injuries and deaths.  On Sunday June 15, a 13 year old girl with Down Syndrome had been killed by a hit and run driver.

13 year old Bryanna Soplin had left her Levittown home around midnight, to visit her grandparent’s house located in Hicksville.  Bryanna had been crossing Gardiners Avenue when she was struck by a blue Chrysler Town minivan.  Bryanna was taken to Nassau University Medical Center with severe trauma to both her head and body.  Heart breaking news struck around 4:00 am, when Bryanna Soplin was pronounced dead.  

Mother, Jennifer Curuchaga, pleaded for anyone with information and the driver himself to come forward.  A witness told investigators that she saw the victim waiting for a red light to change at the intersection.  Jennifer strongly believed police would catch the driver due to the many cameras found along the turnpike.

Soon after, Michael Elardo, a 13 year retiree of the NYPD, surrendered to authorities.  Elardo, a single father to four children, is being held on a $1 million dollar bail.

Elardo’s attorney has made the argument stating his client thought he hit a construction cone, not realizing that he hit a person.  Elardo had given his car up voluntarily to rule out any sort of possibility of being involved in the accident. It has been found that Elardo’s car had been the one to hit Bryanna. Police are waiting for the video tapes from the camera to see if speed, alcohol, or drugs were involved.


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