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August 14, 2018 - 11:18am

Teen killed by hit-and-run driver in Darien planned to become an Upstate, rural doctor

posted by Howard B. Owens in crime, Darien, notify, news.

All across America, there is a shortage of rural doctors. That problem is expected to only get worse as doctors born during the Baby Boom retire with greater frequency in the coming years.

New York isn't immune. A recent survey of the state's hospitals by Healthcare Association of New York found that Upstate needs 615 more doctors.

Connor Lynskey, the 18-year-old resident of Hinckley, who was killed by a hit-and-run driver in Darien on Saturday, was well aware of Upstate's doctor shortage, which is why he decided to attend medical school and become a rural doctor.

He had already been accepted into Upstate Medical University, according to Don Lynskey, his brother-in-law. Connor Lynskey was planning to attend Siena in the fall as part of a dual-admissions program to undergrad study and medical school for students committed to becoming rural doctors. His brother, Don said, is in the third year of the same program.

In his admissions essay about his plans, Lynskey said the difficulty his sister had in getting a correct diagnosis for Type I Diabetes in Utica inspired his career choice.

"Her struggle to find a local treatment center motivates me to become a rural physician," Lynskey wrote. "Pursuing this goal, I began a shadowing program at Rome Hospital to achieve insight regarding my future job. I was able to shadow the Emergency Room, Radiology Unit, Intensive Care Unit, and Pediatrics. Each day, I attempted to absorb the knowledge presented while becoming increasingly involved in the care of patients. With my newfound knowledge, I now prepare to conquer the obstacles that await me on the road to becoming a physician."

Friday evening Lynskey attended the Jason Aldean concert at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center with friends and family. After the concert, the group walked back to their campsite at Darien Lakes State Park, taking Sumner Road. At some point, Lynskey decided to run ahead to catch up with his friend.

On the dark, hilly road, nobody in the group saw what happened next. Lynskey was hit by a car whose driver didn't stop to help or call police. When the group reached their campsite and Lynskey wasn't there, they contacted the State Park Police who notified the Sheriff's Office. Officers patrolled the area, including Sumner Road but nobody saw Lynskey or any scene of a problem.

Perhaps 30 minutes later, a woman, Jennifer L. Serrano, 48, of Charles Street, Irving, was driving on Route 77 in Darien and her car nearly struck a marked patrol car. A deputy stopped her and wound up charging her with DWI.

The next morning, Deputy Richard Schildwaster, checking Sumner Road, found debris in the roadway and when he got out of his vehicle and looked around, he found Lynskey's body in a ditch.

Serrano, who had been released on bail on the DWI charge, was identified as the suspect and was arrested in Amherst, her vehicle was seized, and she has been charged with vehicular manslaughter in the second degree and leaving the scene of a personal injury accident. She is being held on $100,000 bail or $200,000 bond.

The Batavian's news partner, 13WHAM contributed to this story.

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