Police have charged a local man in connection to a hit-and-run crash that claimed the life of a woman in Fairfield County over the July 4th weekend.
Marileidy Morel Araujo, 32, of Matamoras, Pennsylvania, was killed in the crash that happened around 7:30 p.m. Saturday, July 4 in the Town of Fairfield in the area of 2000 Redding Road.
Araujo was visiting family in Fairfield and was walking her dog at the time of the crash, police said. Two passing motorists found the victim lying in the roadway and called 911.
Surveillance video was located from the area of Redding Road, along with several other locations throughout Fairfield and Easton, which identified the suspect vehicle as a white Dodge Ram pickup truck, Fairfield Police said.
Investigators had earlier believed, based on witness statements, that the vehicle was a Jeep Wrangler.
The video revealed a pickup truck with black rims fleeing the area north on Redding Road with a large American flag flying from a pole attached to the rear tow hitch, police said.
Evidence located at the scene was then identified by a local dealership as likely being from a Dodge Ram 2500 or 3500 between the model years of 2010 and 2016, according to police.
Further investigation revealed that the truck likely had passenger side mirror damage and would likely be missing the lower plastic portion of the mirror and the corner light, police said.
A clear marker lens and other debris from the suspect vehicle was also located by police at the scene.
Images of the vehicle were analyzed by detectives and a complete description and images of the suspect vehicle were distributed to law enforcement personnel, police said.
Crash Investigation, Traffic Unit and Detective Bureau personnel continued their investigation and developed several leads and possible suspect information.
On Tuesday, July 7, Patrol Division personnel located a Dodge Ram fitting the description traveling on North Benson Road in Fairfield and conducted an investigative stop of the vehicle.
Late Wednesday night, July 8, police announced an arrest has been made.
Declan P. Kot, 22, of Easton has been charged with:
- Misconduct with a motor vehicle, Class D felony
- Evading responsibility in operating a motor vehicle resulting in death
- Failure to drive in proper lane
- Operating a motor vehicle without fenders
- Tampering with evidence
- Operation of a motor vehicle with tinted windows without tinting sticker
- Operation of vehicle with tinted windshield
Based on information obtained during an interview with Kot at police headquarters, an arrest warrant was issued on Wednesday. He was arrested at Fairfield Police Headquarters at 8:45 p.m.
KOT is scheduled to appear at Bridgeport Superior Court on Wednesday, July 15.
He was released after posting $150,000 bond with a condition that he not operate any motor vehicle pending arraignment before the Superior Court and permission being granted by the court.
"The collaborative and resolute efforts of all involved personnel are a shining example of the persistence, dedication and professionalism continually exhibited by the men and women of the Fairfield Police Department," Fairfield Police Chief Christopher Lyddy said. "We would like to again thank the several hundred individuals who provided potential leads and tips throughout the investigation."
The incident remains under investigation by the Fairfield Police Crash Reconstruction Unit.
Anyone with additional information or surveillance video is asked to contact Crash Reconstruction Supervisor Sgt. Michael Paris at email@example.com or 203-254-4862.
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