Milford Hit-And-Run Driver Took SUV To Car Wash After Crash, Police Say

MILFORD (CBS) – Prosecutors say the woman behind the wheel during a fatal Milford hit-and-run went to the car wash and spent several weeks trying to conceal evidence showing she had hit and killed a young boy.

Melissa Knight was arrested Thursday at Lasell College, where she works.

She is charged in the death of Jonathan Loja, a 4-year-old Framingham boy who was playing at a family gathering when he was hit and killed on April 16.

During a Friday arraignment, prosecutors said Knight was “first in line” at a car wash the day after Loja was killed.

Knight spoke to police the Wednesday after Loja’s death after seeing her vehicle on the news. But she told detectives damage to her car was caused by a tree branch.

capture6 Milford Hit And Run Driver Took SUV To Car Wash After Crash, Police Say

Police were searching for a Chevy Traverse possibly involved in a fatal Milford hit and run. (Image Credit: Milford Police)

Detectives, however, found evidence on the hood and front end that someone had tried to fix the damage.

Blood and tissue found on the undercarriage of the vehicle was tested, and prosecutors say it matched samples taken from Loja. A one-inch piece of plastic was a match to Knight’s SUV, prosecutors said.

She was charged with leaving the scene of a motor vehicle crash after causing injuries that resulted in a death. Knight was also charged with misleading a police investigation.

loja Milford Hit And Run Driver Took SUV To Car Wash After Crash, Police Say

Jonathan Loja. (Image Credit: Loja Family)

Knight hid behind attorneys during her arraignment as the prosecutor called her actions “appalling.” The prosecution argued that Knight destroyed evidence and spent 20 days lying to police.

Her defense attorney argued that Knight is a lifelong Milford resident, college administrator, sole supporter of her two daughters, and thus is not a flight risk. The defense also argued that Knight has cooperated with police.

milford21 Milford Hit And Run Driver Took SUV To Car Wash After Crash, Police Say

Melissa Knight in Milford District Court, May 5, 2017. (WBZ-TV)

The 54-year-old was ordered held on $20,000 bail.

Knight made bail and left the courthouse Wednesday afternoon. She must stay away from the victim’s family.

Officials said that her license has been suspended under the fatal preliminary provision and as an immediate threat to public safety.

A spokesman for Loja’s family said they are still “shell shocked” by the boy’s death.

“No one and nothing can bring back their son, and yet they demand justice in this case,” said Robert Carmel-Montes.

A cousin told WBZ-TV on Friday, “We are going to get justice. That is all we need.”

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Doug Cope reports

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