Aizaz Siddiqui, the 26-year-old Binghamton man arrested last December for the hit-and-run death of Binghamton University junior Stefani Lineva, was sentenced Thursday afternoon to two months in Broome County Jail and three years of probation.
Siddiqui’s sentence, handed down by Binghamton City Court Judge William Pelella, will be served through the Weekender Work program, which requires inmates to report to the jail only on Saturdays and Sundays and perform manual labor or community-service activities.
Siddiqui was behind the wheel of a 2013 BMW when he struck Lineva early on the morning of Saturday, Dec. 3, 2016. Lineva was found against the concrete median on the eastbound side of Vestal Parkway near the Pennsylvania Avenue exit. After a five-day investigation that included $30,000 in reward money, the Binghamton Police Department arrested Siddiqui, who posted bail the following week.
“I’m sorry; I didn’t do what I should’ve that night,” Siddiqui said in court Thursday. “I’ve been trying my best to right the wrongs. I didn’t mean for any of this to happen.”
Lineva’s mother and a family friend sat near the back of the courtroom, crying as details of the accident were mentioned.
In May, Siddiqui pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge of leaving the scene of an accident without reporting, which carries a maximum penalty of one year.
Siddiqui’s defense attorney, Thomas Saitta, said his client shouldn’t serve any jail time because Lineva was lying in the road when struck, a previously undisclosed detail.
“She was actually lying prone in the driving lane of [Route] 434 when she was hit; she had a blood alcohol level that was nearly three times the legal limit … that’s significant given the circumstances: It’s 2 a.m. in the morning and you have a body lying motionless in the driving lane of the road, and Mr. Siddiqui didn’t see her until he was right on top of her,” Saitta said.
Palella urged Siddiqui to take the sentence as an opportunity to take responsibility and be held accountable.
“You can make your life a positive one by giving back to others because the victim can no longer do that,” he said.
Lineva transferred from Adelphi University last fall and was a member of the BU women’s tennis team.
“The loss of someone so young and talented is almost impossible to imagine and impacts our entire community,” BU President Harvey Stenger wrote in a statement shortly after Lineva’s death. “We will miss Stefani’s spirit, passion and engagement with everyone she touched on our campus.”
Siddiqui was initially charged with a felony count of leaving the scene of a property damage accident resulting in death, for which he could have faced up to seven years in state prison if convicted.