MIDDLEBORO (CBS) – An 18-year-old has been arrested in connection with the fatal hit and run of a bicyclist last month.
The Plymouth County DA says Eric Megna, a student at UMass Dartmouth, was arrested Wednesday.
Prosecutors say Megna was returning home from school on Friday October 11 when he struck 58-year-old Michael Dutra on Wood Street. Dutra was riding his bicycle at the time.
After the crash, prosecutors say Megna fled to his family’s New Hampshire vacation home. Days later, he reported to the New Hampshire State Police that he hit a deer on I-93, and sent a picture of a dead deer to his mother, which she later showed to investigators.
Police determined that the photograph was taken from the Internet and there were no signs of fur or other deer remains on Megna’s black Jeep Grand Cherokee.
Police recovered parts from Megna’s vehicle from an auto body shop that matched debris recovered at the crash scene in Middleboro.
“There’s no way this person could actually believe they didn’t hit anything,” the victim’s daughter, Shannon Dutra told WBZ-TV days after the crash. “They know they did. They took something from us, our dad.”
Megna will be arraigned Thursday in Wareham on one charge of leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle crash.
Michael Dutra’s daughters applaud police. “The Middleboro Police and State Police have been doing an amazing job and they’ve been working so hard to make sure that they have everything that they need to make sure it’s going to be a solid case,” said Shannon.
The sisters are relieved there’s been an arrest, but their emotions are mixed. “I really can’t even describe it. I just started shaking,” Michelle Dutra added. “We’ve been so anxious we knew it was coming. To hear those words, it was definitely a sigh of relief and it is bittersweet because the first person I want to call is my Dad and I don’t have him to call.”
Dutra had ridden his bicycle to the grocery store to get ingredients to cook his daughters dinner. He’d survived a liver transplant and an illness last year and was feeling much better. “So for him to pass away like this, it’s cruel,” Michelle said.
The two plan to be in court when Eric Megna faces a judge. “My dad deserves every bit of justice right now for everything he’s been through,” Shannon said.
The sisters understand being young and scared, but wish so badly the driver had come back. “If he had stopped, I believe that everything could have been different. There could have been a completely different story,” Shannon said. “I want him to know the impact his decisions have made on us.”
WBZ-TV’s Bobby Sisk contributed to this report.
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