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Updated: May. 22 (07:56)

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Posted On: Nov 24, 2007
Downtown Hit-And-Run Victim Dies
NL Man Struck By Car Wednesday; Suspect Held On $250,000 Bond
By M. Matthew Clark ,    Published on 11/24/2007






New London — The victim of a hitand-run car accident that occurred Wednesday night died Friday at Yale-New Haven Hospital.

Police identified the man as 33-year-old New London resident Herman Chacha of 7 Jefferson Ave.

The exact cause of death was unknown Friday evening, New London police Capt. William Dittman said, but the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner will likely perform an autopsy today.

Chacha was crossing Eugene O'Neill Drive near the intersection of Green Street about 11 p.m. Wednesday when he was hit.

Chacha was employed at Supreme Pizza on Boston Post Road in Waterford. Family members could not be reached for comment Friday evening. Employees and management at Supreme Pizza said they preferred not to comment until family members had spoken about the incident.

Beatrice Price, 27, of Westerly, whose car police say hit Chacha, was charged early Thursday morning with first-degree assault, evading responsibility, reckless driving and driving the wrong way down a one-way street.

Price was arraigned Friday morning in New London Superior Court and is being held on $250,000 bond at the Janet S. York Correctional Institution. Her next scheduled court date is Wednesday, Nov. 28.

Dittman said the state's attorney's office would decide whether additional charges would be filed against Price. He said he does not expect any other arrests in the case.

Police said Price fled the scene after the accident. Dittman said after her car hit Chacha, she turned around in the municipal parking lot and drove the wrong way up Eugene O'Neill Drive, looked at Chacha — who was in the crosswalk when he was hit — and fled the scene again, Dittman said.

With the help of several eyewitnesses, police located Price and two passengers in the car at the time of the accident. One witness followed Price by car to 96 Green St. where Price and the others were arrested a few hours after the incident.

Police charged Dionne Johnson, 19, of 96 Green St., Apt. 2D, and Stefanie Lafferty, 27, of 96 Green St. Apt. 2B with interfering with a police officer. Another man who was not in the car, 61-year-old Ronald Booth, of the same address as Lafferty, was also charged with interfering a police officer for his role in trying to hide the women from police.

The accident involving Chacha is the third serious hit-and-run accident in the area over the past six weeks. In October, Emily Vanstaen, a 16-year-old East Lyme girl, was hit and injured on Benham Road in Quaker Hill by a vehicle that fled the scene. On Friday, Nov. 9, a homeless man, Frederick K. Finn was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver on Boston Post Road in Waterford. No arrests have been reported in either case.

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