LAWRENCE (CBS) — Lawrence District Court erupted in chaos Monday as the family of a girl killed in a hit-and-run crash last week confronted the family of the accused.
WBZ-TV’s David Robichaud reports that at least one person was arrested and a woman was taken away by ambulance in a scuffle outside the courtroom after the arraignment of 22-year-old Steven Toro.
Toro was ordered held on $50,000 bail after pleading not guilty to several charges, including motor vehicle homicide and leaving the scene of an accident.
Police say he was speeding Thursday night when he struck 11-year-old Jaydee Soto near Broadway and Kirk Street in Methuen.
After the arraignment Toro’s and Soto’s families pushed and yelled at one another with Soto’s relatives enraged that Toro was allowed to hide his face from cameras in court.
The fight broke out when court officers tried to escort Toro’s family out a side door and members of Soto’s family tried to confront them.
Last Thursday night, Soto was crossing the street with her stepfather to go to the dollar store with some money she had saved.
She was walking just steps ahead of her father when she was sent airborne by the impact, and was then hit by a car on the other side of the road. She was rushed to Lawrence General Hospital, where she died.
According to police, Toro did not make any attempt to stop or slow down, and instead took off down Broadway toward Lawrence.
“I’m not gonna see my niece again,” Jaydee’s aunt told WBZ-TV’s Nicole Jacobs outside court Monday. “No respect whatsoever, especially for a child… they could have helped her, but no, they chose to leave her there.”
Investigators shared photos of the car they believed was involved, and eventually found the dented Nissan Sentra in Toro’s front yard with front-end damage and a broken windshield.
Police said Toro’s mother told them her son had admitted to hitting someone, but was afraid to turn himself in.
Methuen Police Captain Randy Haggar said sharing the images and information on social media led to a flurry of tips–and Police Chief Joseph Solomon says he believes those tips led to Toro’s arrest.
According to police, the tipster originally named Toro’s brother as the driver–but when they contacted the brother, he was in Minnesota, and directed investigators to Steven.
Prosecutors detailed Toro’s history of larceny arrests, moving violations, and missed court appearances.
ADA Lindsay Nason discussed Toro “driving recklessly, dark at night, and then leaving an eleven-year-old girl to die on the pavement.”
Soto’s family sat listening while struggling to maintain composure, wearing T-shirts that said “Justice for Jaydee.”
“Justice is gonna be made for Jaydee,” said one of the girl’s family members.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Kendall Buhl reports