BOSTON (CBS) — The man charged in the fatal hit-and-run of a cyclist in the Back Bay a week ago was arraigned in Boston Municipal Court Wednesday.
Kidanemariam, who was charged with leaving the scene of an accident causing death, turned himself in Tuesday night. Investigators said more charges could be coming.
“I’m happy to get him,” Boston Police Commissioner Bill Evans told WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens. “I wish he had turned himself in sooner and owned up to what he did.”
Police say Archer was biking down Commonwealth Avenue just before 3:30 a.m. on Sunday, April 30 with another person when Kidanemariam hit him and kept going. Archer died at Massachusetts General Hospital two days later.
Court paperwork shows there were passengers inside Kidanemariam’s car who told police they were woken up by the crash, and that Kidanemariam then panicked and took off.
Last week, Boston Police found a silver Toyota Camry in the Boston Common parking garage with a smashed windshield that matched the description of the suspect car seen on surveillance video.
Prosecutors said surveillance video shows the car, which they said was leased to Kidanemariam through Enterprise Rental Company, pulling into the garage 15 minutes after the crash–and the Suffolk District Attorney’s office said Kidanemarian could be seen driving the car in that surveillance video.
“We had figured out who it was, and honestly, we were negotiating with his attorney,” Evans said. “Finally, when we were about to arrest him, he turned himself in.”
Outside the courtroom, dozens of Kidanemariam’s friends and family members gathered to support him.
They said he is a “good kid,” a graduate of Wellesley High School, and that he works at Massachusetts General Hospital.
A hospital spokesperson told WBZ-TV Kidanemariam is part of the MGH Bulfinch “temporary employee pool.”
“Everybody knows him, he’s very nice, that’s the only thing we know,” Kidanemariam’s uncle, Afeworki Kidanemariam, told WBZ-TV’s Anna Meiler. “Everybody’s shocked by what happened.”
The suspect’s family said they are sad for everyone involved.
“We’re hurting for everyone,” said Nadia Tefera, a friend of Kidanemariam family. “It’s been a tragic accident.”
Evans said one unfortunate factor was that police would never be able to prove Kidanemariam was driving impaired, as his arrest happened nine days after the crash.
The commissioner said he hopes the arrest brings solace to the family–because he knows what it’s like when there is no arrest.
“When I was 9, my 11-year-old brother got killed crossing the street in South Boston, and we never got the driver,” he said. “You always feel a sense of emptiness and sorrow that we never got who’s responsible. I’m sure this will never make things right again for that family, but it’s nice knowing that they got him.”
Friends and family reacted to news of the arrest on Facebook.
“Thank you all for your continued support and love,” Archer’s father wrote on his page.
On Wednesday night, a “Ghost Bike” memorial ceremony was held in honor of Archer, with participants calling for safer streets for cyclists.
It was organized by Ghost Ride Leader Rev. Laura Everett and Archer’s ex-wife, Leanne Greenman, who said she was relieved the suspect was caught.
She added that she doesn’t think Archer would have been angry with alleged killer.
“He would tell me to have some empathy,” Greenman said. “I know he (Kidanemariam) is young and I know he is probably scared but there needs to be consequences to the actions.”
The Ghost Ride ended at City Hall, where more than 50 cyclists signed up to testify – dozens more overflowing from the chamber. “You’re talking dollars and numbers, but I’m thinking about humans,” said Greenman said at the hearing.
Kidanemariam is due back in court June 1.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Mike Macklin reports