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Dec 5, 2012 11:24 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Attorney Pleads Guilty To Quogue Hit-And-Run Charges

Dec 5, 2012 12:48 PM

A Manhattan attorney who police said struck a bicyclist in Quogue Village while driving drunk last year pleaded guilty last week to all 10 charges filed against him, including two counts of vehicular assault and leaving the scene of an accident, as well as DWI, according to court records.

Tabber B. Benedict, 35, was arrested on July 4, 2011, after he struck and seriously injured East Quogue resident Steve Dorn, 44, with his GMC Acadia on Montauk Highway, and then left the scene, according to Quogue Village Police.

Mr. Benedict, who is due back in Suffolk County Criminal Court for sentencing on January 25, faces a possible prison term of 39 months to 10 years and will lose his law license, according to his attorney, Mark Heller.

“This was a very unusual and isolated event in this individual’s life,” Mr. Heller said, adding that Mr. Benedict has a long history of philanthropy and achievement. “This was a very unfortunate and regrettable event in his life that took place over the Fourth of July, and he has expressed tremendous contriteness and remorse, and he is vigilantly hopeful that this victim will have a good and complete recovery.”

Mr. Heller called the possible punishment “extremely harsh,” given that Mr. Benedict will lose his law license and means of earning a living.

“I am a great advocate of justice being tempered with mercy,” he said. “I don’t know anybody who hasn’t had some indiscretion in their life, and I think that an adequate and appropriate sentence would have been misdemeanor pleas and probation … He’s not someone that requires incarceration.”

Robert Clifford, a spokesman for Suffolk County District Attorney Thomas Spota, said that in New York State, an attorney who is convicted of a felony automatically loses his license to practice law.

In a statement, Mr. Spota called Mr. Heller’s comments “absurd.”

“His client, driving at 8 o’clock in the morning with a blood-alcohol level four times the legal limit, ran over a bicyclist and left the victim seriously injured on the side of the road,” he said, adding that the punishment of up to 10 years in prison and losing his law license was appropriate. “In fact, Mr. Benedict would have escaped if not for two witnesses who chased and stopped him two miles away from the crime scene.”

Mr. Benedict pleaded guilty to two counts of vehicular assault in the second degree, vehicular assault while under the influence of alcohol, and two counts of leaving the scene of an accident with a serious injury, all felonies. He was also charged with two counts of DWI and one count of reckless driving, both misdemeanors, and several traffic infractions.

Police said that after Mr. Benedict fled the scene in his vehicle, two drivers who witnessed the accident forced him to pull over less than two miles away and parked their cars around his car so that he could not leave until police arrived.

Mr. Dorn is a teacher in the William Floyd School District and has worked as a lifeguard in Hampton Bays for the past 11 years.

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“I am a great advocate of justice being tempered with mercy,” Did Mr. Benedict show mercy to Mr. Dorn when he ran him over and left him on the side of the road? Was Mr. Benedict thinking of anyone besides himself when he got behind the wheel of his SUV when he was obviously drunk? Isolated incident? Or the first time he got caught? He needs to spend a little time in jail... He can chair as many charitable events as he wants when he gets out.
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Dec 5, 12 2:24 PM
just pondering the irony if it was revealed later that this Benedict was related to the Benedict that operates Seafield Center ... Can anyone shed some light ??
By Bill in Riverhead (190), Riverhead on Dec 7, 12 10:33 AM
Do you have any sane reason to make that statement? A not uncommon last name and you link the two together?
You should be ashamed of yourself, doing nothing more than atttempting to spread vicous rumors, and to what end?
By But I'm a blank! (1283), Hampton Bays on Dec 7, 12 12:03 PM
Bill's wife, you have my admiration.
By dnice (2346), Hampton Bays on Dec 7, 12 7:42 PM
Google can.. look him up.
By pstevens (406), Wilmington on Dec 10, 12 10:32 AM
Anyone know what his sentence is?
By wiferisnot (1), Park City on Jan 29, 13 1:49 PM