Police hunt driver who fled after striking West Hempstead rabbi
Rabbi Jordon Kelemer was crossing Hempstead Avenue in front of Young Israel
Rabbi Jordon Kelemer of the Young Israel of West Hempstead.
Reporting by Rossana Weitekamp, Editor, West Hempstead Herald
Nassau Police were searching on Tuesday for a motorist who fled the scene after striking and severely injuring a West Hempstead rabbi at 7::35 pm on Monday outside the Young Israel of West Hempstead.
Rabbi Jordon Kelemer, 70, was found by a passerby. He sustained a head injury and was transported by Hatzalah Ambulance Corps of Western Nassau.
At a press briefing Tuesday afternoon in West Hempstead, Lt. Richard Lebron described the rabbi’s condition as “very serious right now.”
He appealed to the public for help in tracking down the vehicle and its driver. The vehicle was described as a 2004 or 2005 white Dodge pick-up truck with a long tool box in back running the length of the truck.
Lebron discounted the notion that the driver might not have known that he hit someone, saying that Rabbi Kelemer was hit hard. He said that the vehicle likely sustained damage to the driver side front, possibly to its fender, headlight and directional.
“After the rabbi was struck, the vehicle sped off, heading southbound,” he said.
Police said there were no witnesses to the accident, but that they were in the process of examining surveilance videos.
The rabbi had parked his vehicle across Hempstead Avenue and was crossing the road to the shul, at 630 Hempstead Ave., when he was struck, Lebron said.
“He’s very, very close with the community,” said Rabbi David Warshaw, executive director of the Young Israel of West Hempstead. “For all joyous occasions, all sad occasions, he’s always there. He’s an extremely concerned and dedicated individual who’s really involved with the full life of the congregation.”
Rabbi Warshaw said that there have been prayer services for the rabbi ongoing since Monday night at the shul.
Detectives request anyone with information regarding this accident to contact Crime Stoppers at 800-244-TIPS. All callers will remain anonymous.
Reporting by Rossana Weitekamp, editor, Malverne-West Hempstead Herald.