A family in New York State is grieving after the death of their beloved father and grandfather who was killed over the weekend after a late-night car crash turned into a deadly street fight.
David McKenzie, 54, was found lying on the sidewalk just feet away from the family home in Baldwin on Long Island. And now, Patrick Destine, 26, who hails from Queens, stands accused of his murder.
“Last night, he was taken from us,” a family member told regional, Woodbury, New York-based TV station News 12 on Sunday morning. “And right now, the family is just grieving.”
McKenzie’s family says he was a “kindhearted and loving father” of two, a grandfather, and a four-year veteran of the U.S. Navy.
“He loved his mom,” the relative added. “He just loved his family.”
“According to the Nassau County Police Department, officers were dispatched to the scene of an auto accident at the corner of Schuman Place and Forest Avenue at just before 11:00 p.m. Saturday.
Destine had been driving a gray 2004 Infiniti G35 while McKenzie was behind the wheel of a green 2003 Honda minivan that collided with one another. At some point, however, “both drivers exited their vehicles and a verbal argument ensued,” a press release says.
The collision, in all, was minor, police say.
Police claim the defendant “began violently assaulting the other driver” and “continuously kicked the victim in his head causing severe head trauma.” The press release does not attribute the allegations but notes that Destine was arrested “after a short foot pursuit.”
In comments to Newsday, NCPD Detective Captain Stephen Fitzpatrick, who leads the homicide unit, offered additional details about the investigation into the crash that preceded McKenzie’s murder.
The detective told the Long Island-focused daily newspaper that Destine was driving without headlights when he caused the crash by running a stop sign and then made a right turn – immediately after purchasing the Infinity for $4,000. The car was unregistered, uninsured, and lacked a valid inspection, Fitzpatrick said.
After that, the detective alleged, the defendant got out of his car, chased the victim down, and pushed him to the ground before stomping on him and kicking him in the head and the face.
“When police officers arrived, they discovered the victim lying on the ground with severe face and head injuries,” Fitzpatrick told Newsday.
McKenzie was rushed to a nearby hospital where he succumbed to his injuries just after midnight, Fitzpatrick said, attributing the man’s death to the brutal blows he sustained after the car accident.
“These injuries caused his death,” the detective told the paper.
Police also allege that Destine rummaged through McKenzie’s minivan after the beating and stole several personal items.
“We know for a fact he was actually chased,” the deceased man’s grieving relative continued. “It was caught on the camera – where we saw two people chasing him and he was running home and was killed directly next door to our house.”
The second person allegedly seen chasing McKenzie on that doorbell camera footage is likely Destine’s girlfriend, Aisha Pitt, 19, who hails from Hempstead, New York. According to the NCPD, Pitt was also arrested on Saturday night because she was seen fleeing the scene of the crime and had some of the victim’s credit cards in her possession, Newsday reported.
Destine pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Monday in Hempstead First District Court. He is being held without bail on charges of driving while intoxicated and murder in the second degree.
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