The Darien Times
Written by Susan Shultz
Thursday, September 08, 2011 09:59 AM
The driver involved in the February 2010 hit-and-run accident that injured a Darien teenager on Hoyt Street was granted accelerated rehabilitation on Wednesday, Aug. 31, served one day, and had his case dismissed on Sept. 1.
The resolution of Paul Plepis’s case is a rarity, according to his attorney, Mark Sherman.
Earlier this year, Plepis also offered financial compensation to the family of Jacob Eekhof, who was 15 at the time of the accident, which left him seriously injured.
The Darien teenager has made a full recovery, his attorney told The Darien Times at the time of the financial payment.
“Jacob has recovered from his injuries, and he is back in school and enjoying a full sports schedule — the whole nine yards,” said Craig Yankwitt of Silver, Golub & Teitel, the Eekhofs’ family lawyer.
“Mr. Plepis was apologetic and remorseful for his actions. Both he and his lawyer, Mark Sherman did everything they could to make sure that Jacob was fully compensated for his injuries in a timely and appropriate manner,” Yankwitt said at the time of the payment.
Yankwitt said he could not reveal the details of the recent financial payment received and said no lawsuit against Plepis was ever filed by the Eekofs.
Jacob was 15 when he suffered traumatic head and back injuries when Plepis, then 90, of Stamford hit the teenager with his car on Hoyt Street.
On Feb. 27, 2010, Jacob was hit by Plepis’s Toyota Camry while walking down Hoyt Street by St. John’s Cemetery. He was walking on the northbound side of the road where there are no sidewalks.
The road was closed for several hours for the investigation and police sought information and witnesses after the car left the scene, heading toward New Canaan.
Plepis later told police he left the scene without realizing he’d hit someone.
It was only after reading an article about the accident, that Plepis said he realized he was the driver of the silver Toyota Camry that sent the boy to the hospital with severe head injuries.
He later turned himself in after a warrant was issued for his arrest by Darien Police. Plepis was “extremely cooperative,” police said at the time.
He was charged with evading responsibility, which is a felony when involving a serious injury. While Plepis expressed remorse for the accident, he pleaded not guilty last year as a “formality,” according to Sherman.
The police said that Plepis suffers from macular degeneration, a condition of the eyes that is age-related.
Plepis was so upset about the accident, Sherman said last year, that he wrote a letter to the Eekhof family apologizing.
At the time, Yankwitt said that the Eekhof family recognized that “such apologies are not common” and appreciated it.
Plepis is a former Stamford Public Schools teacher and veteran. His honorable discharge papers from World War II were offered to the court as part of his case.
As far as the shortened penalty, Yankwitt said the family is satisfied with the outcome.
“The family is certainly satisfied with the one day of accelerated rehabilitation. Mr. Plepis has accepted responsibility for the collision, and shown appropriate remorse. As such, the family does not believe further penalties were necessary,” Yankwitt said Tuesday.
Sherman previously said his client is “elated” that Jacob has fully recovered.
“Paul is relieved that this case is finally behind him. The accident has haunted him and he is thankful that the young man is feeling better. Alike many senior citizens in Paul’s situation, it is difficult to know when it’s time to stop driving,” Sherman told The Darien Times Tuesday
Neighbors on Hoyt Street continue to campaign for a sidewalk near Talmadge Hill train station.