Articles Posted in Hit and Run Cases

DE, a 35 year old woman from Lowell, was cited by the State Police for a Hit and Run on Route 495 in Andover. On November 6, 2019, after leaving a bar/restaurant in Andover, she headed onto Rt. 495 South from Route 28 in Andover. At the same time a tractor trailer unit was headed south on Rt. 495. The driver of the truck observed her. The State Police report states: “[The truck driver] stated that she lost control and turned sideways. He then stated she appeared to regain control and continued onto the highway crashing into the side of his vehicle as he was traveling in the first travel lane. [The truck driver] advised that he could see that the passengers mirror was hanging from the drivers side as the vehicle fled the scene.” DE was subsequently identified as the operator of her vehicle at the time of the hit and run and on November 11, 2019 DE was issued a citation by the State Police for Leaving the Scene of a Property damage accident.

DE knew Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover as he had successfully defended her in 2013 against a charge of operating after suspension of her license. DE immediately contacted Attorney Lewin and retained him.

Attorney Lewin went over to Lawrence District Court and immediately filed a request for a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing. Attorney Lewin checked the papers in the Clerk-Magistrate’s Office to see if the State Police had filed their copy of the Citation along with an Application for Criminal Complaint for the Hit and Run against DE. Under a little known statute (although well known to Attorney Lewin) the police have six business days to file their copy of the citation along with their application for a criminal complaint in the Clerk-Magistrate’s Office of the Court. Failure to do so is a defense. Attorney Lewin discovered that the police had not filed their paperwork. Attorney Lewin kept checking with the Clerk-Magistrate and it was not until November 25, 2019 that the police finally filed their copy of the citation along with their Application for Criminal Complaint against DE. This was 9 business days (exclude Saturdays, Sundays, and Thanksgiving Day). DE’s case was set up for a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing.

On Saturday morning March 2, 2019 at about 2:30 am,  DE, a 48 year old plasterer from Malden, was arrested for Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident and for Failing to Identify Himself. The police responded to a one car accident on Rt. 99 in Malden. A work van full of plastering equipment was found by the police up against a utility pole. The entire front end of the van was crashed in and both front airbags had deployed. No one was in the van. The keys were still in the ignition. The police ran the license plate and the registered owner was DE who lived near the accident scene. It was 2:30 in the morning. The police got an anonymous tip that a man wearing a gray sweater was seen leaving the van and heading up the street on foot toward the street where DE lived. The police drove up the street and located DE walking. He was drunk; he was covered in plaster; and he was walking toward his home. The police asked DE to identify himself and he refused. He demanded to know why the police were stopping him. The police told him his van was wrapped around a pole and he said F___ you to the officer. The police arrested DE. He refused to say anything to the police. He refused to admit the van was his; he refused to admit that he was driving; he said NOTHING. DE was brought to the police station and again he refused to say anything. He was put in a cell and at about two in the afternoon he finally got bailed out. On Monday, March 4, 2019 DE went to Malden Court and was arraigned.

DE called Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover. DE was quite familiar with Attorney Lewin as Attorney Lewin had successfully defended DE against a charge of Drunk Driving 2nd Offense that had been brought against DE by the Gloucester Police in June of 2018. That case went to a jury trial on November 28, 2018 and on November 29, 2018 DE was found NOT guilty. (To read about that case see the entry on this website dated December 4, 2018).

In any event Attorney Lewin prepared the case for trial and noted that the Commonwealth would have trouble proving that DE was driving the van at the time of the accident. The District Attorney had numerous documents from the Registry of Motor Vehicles; but Attorney Lewin noticed that the documents were not properly certified. Attorney Lewin kept that little tidbit of information to himself.

On May 31, 2019 QN, a 19 year old male, was driving home to his Mother’s house in Andover when he lost control of his car and crashed into two parked vehicles. It was about 2:30 AM. QN got out of his car and looked around. All the homes in the neighborhood were dark. QN called his father who lives in Peabody. The father told him to wait at the scene and that the father would drive up from Peabody. QN waited and about 30 minutes later his father arrived. The father called for a tow truck and the father brought QN to QN’s mother’s house which was just around the corner.  The father then returned to the scene. The tow truck arrived but told the father that the car could not be towed because the car came to rest on private property (the front lawn of a house). The tow truck driver called the police and the police responded. The police arrived and asked the father what  happened. The father told the police that his son had been driving and lost control and that the father had brought the son to his mother’s house. The police went to the mother’s house and rang the doorbell but no one responded. The police charged QN with Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident. The police charged the father with Misleading a Police Officer.

Father and son met with Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover. Attorney Lewin pointed out that he did not believe that any law had been broken!

The hit and run law requires that when a driver is involved in a collision he must stop at the scene and “make known his name, residence, and the register number of his motor vehicle”. The law requires that the information be given “to the person whose property was damaged, if reasonably possible, and if not, to someone acting in their interest or to some public officer or to some other person at or near the place at the time of the damage.” QN had remained at the scene for 30 minutes. All of his information was known to his father and as soon as the police arrived the father told the police his son’s name and residence address. The registration plate was on the car and plainly visible to the police. Attorney Lewin pointed out to QN that he only left the scene AFTER he had made known what happened to his father and that he therefore had substantially complied with the requirements of the law.

On March 29, 2019 MM, a 54 year old technician from Wilmington, appeared in Lowell District Court with Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover, for a Clerk-Magistrate’s Hearing on a charge of Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident. After a full hearing the Clerk-Magistrate dismissed the application for criminal complaint and no criminal complaint was issued against MM.

On April 3, 2019 DL, a 38 year old waitress from Gloucester, appeared in Gloucester District Court with Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover, for a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing on a charge of Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident. After a full hearing the Clerk-Magistrate continued the hearing for six months and ordered that the application for criminal complaint would be dismissed at the end of the six months provided DL stayed out of trouble. The Clerk also ordered that DL would not have to return to court on the six month date.

As a result of these dispositions it should be noted:

On December 19, 2018 Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover appeared in Newburyport District Court for a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing on an application for a criminal complaint that had been filed by the Rowley Police against KX, a 23 year old male laborer, who had left the scene of two accidents in the early morning hours of October 14, 2018. For the fifth time in the last three months Attorney Lewin was successful in getting a leaving the scene of property damage case dismissed. (Salem District Court on December 16, 2018, Lowell District Court on November 16, 2018, Newburyport District Court on September 7, 2018, and Lawrence District Court on September 20, 2018. All these other cases are reported elsewhere in this blog site.)

On October 14, 2018 KX was driving his pickup truck from a friend’s house in Amesbury to his apartment in Beverly.  It was around 1:00 AM. As KX was travelling southerly on Rt. 1A in Rowley he entered a turn in the road but took the turn too widely. His truck traveled over the curb and smashed two large wooden planters and a mailbox set atop a concrete post. KX then went across the road dropping wooden debris from the back of his pick up all over the road. A car coming the other way ran over the debris and was damaged. KX decided not to stop and continued to his apartment. When he pulled into the parking area at his apartment he struck his landlord’s truck but did not report that either and went directly into his apartment. Unfortunately for KX he dropped his front bumper and license plate at the scene of the original accident. The Rowley Police were called to the scene of the original accident, found the license plate, ran the plate, and then had the Beverly Police go to KX’s apartment where they found KX’s truck and his landlord’s truck. KX spoke with the Beverly Police and admitted to them that he had been in the two accidents and had failed to stay at the scene. The next day the Rowley Police issued a citation to KX for two counts of Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident. Each count carries a jail sentence of between 2 weeks and 2 years.

KX’s parents contacted, met with, and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover, MA. Attorney Lewin told them that it was imperative that KX take the citation and hand deliver it to the Newburyport District Court to request a Clerk-Magistrate Hearing immediately. KX did that. Attorney Lewin then reached out to the Rowley Police and spoke with them in an attempt to get them to agree to resolve the case at the Clerk-Magistrate hearing without a criminal complaint being issued against KX.  Attorney Lewin also reached out to KX’s insurance company to get assurance from the insurance company that the insurance company would pay for the damages caused.

On Sunday, October 21, 2018 shortly after midnight, CL, a 31 year old male from Beverly, was driving to his home from his girlfriend’s house in Middleton. Suddenly a deer ran in front of his car and he swerved to avoid it. CL swerved across the roadway going across the opposite lane and ran off the road and struck a stone wall and mailbox on private property. CL exited his car, looked at the car and the wall, and walked away, leaving the car there. The police were called to the scene and traced the plate number to CL. The police put out a BOLO (Be On the Lookout) for CL but were unable to locate him. A trip to his home in Beverly came up empty.

The next day, Monday, October 21, 2018, CL walked into the Middleton Police Station and reported that he was in the accident. The officer thanked him (!) and then handed him a citation for Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident, Negligent Operation, and a Marked Lanes Violation. In addition the police reported to the Registry of Motor vehicles that CL was an immediate threat. The Registry several days later suspended CL’s license as an immediate threat.

CL and his father consulted with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover. Attorney Lewin told CL to immediately go to Salem District Court and file the citations to request a “show cause” hearing before a Clerk-Magistrate. Attorney Lewin contacted CL’s insurance company to expedite payment of the landowner’s claims for damages to the wall and the mailbox. Attorney Lewin reached out and spoke with the police prosecutor from Middleton.

On April 22, 2018 RB, a 24 year old sales associate from Wilmington was driving his car on North Street in Tewksbury. He was making the turn from North Street onto Livingston Street when he lost control of the car. He struck and demolished a stone wall and a mailbox. He then left the scene and drove about 400 feet from the scene of the accident where his car could go no further. The whole accident was captured on a security video. The police responded and found RB. At first he told the police that his car had been struck by a hit and run driver but then he admitted that he had struck the wall and the fence.

The police cited RB for Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident, Negligent Operation, Speeding, and Marked Lane violation. RB and his father, several days later, returned to the scene of the accident and went and spoke to the owner of the property where the wall and mailbox had been situated. RB’s father hired a contractor to come in and rebuild the wall and rebuild and replace the mailbox. The work was done within a matter of days.

The owner of the property – luckily for RB – was a very understanding man. He wrote a letter stating that everything had been repaired and that RB had apologized to him and that he sought nothing further from RB.

On July 19, 2018, KL, a 28 year old male data analyst went out with his girlfriend to a restaurant/bar in Newburyport. They ate and had several drinks and then at about 10:30 PM they left the bar and got into KL’s car which was parked in the parking lot. As KL backed up, the rear end of his car came into contact with the rear bumper of another vehicle that was parked in the parking lot. According to the police report there was “minor damage” to the passenger side rear bumper of the parked vehicle. KL got out of his vehicle and walked over to the parked vehicle. There were several witnesses in the parking lot to the entire event. KL then got back into his vehicle and drove away. The police were called and responded. The witnesses told the police what had happened and furnished the registration plate number of KL’s vehicle to the police. From the plate number the police were able to ascertain the owner of the offending vehicle (KL). The police then went into the restaurant/bar and showed the bartender a photo of KL (which the police had obtained on their portable data terminal from the Registry of Motor Vehicles). The bartender immediately identified the picture of KL as a customer who had been in the bar with a woman. The bartender was able to get the credit card charge slip that KL had signed and it bore KL’s name.

The police attempted to speak with KL but were not successful. The police issued a citation for Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage collision. KL consulted with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover. Attorney Lewin instructed KL to immediately request a hearing before a Clerk-Magistrate at the Newburyport District Court which KL did. Attorney Lewin was able to obtain a copy of the Police Narrative Report. Attorney Lewin reached out to the police prosecutor to see if a resolution of the case could be reached at the Clerk-Magistrate hearing. On September 7, 2018 KL and Attorney Lewin appeared at the Newburyport District Court for the Clerk-Magistrate hearing. The owner of the struck vehicle was not present. The purpose of a Clerk-Magistrate hearing is for the Clerk to decide whether there is probable cause to issue the complaint. If the Clerk-Magistrate finds no probable cause then no complaint will be issued. If the Clerk-Magistrate finds probable cause then the Clerk-Magistrate may issue the complaint; or the Clerk-Magistrate may, in his or her discretion, continue the hearing for a period of time and at the end of that period of time if there are no reports of any further trouble with the law then the Clerk-Magistrate will dismiss the application for the criminal complaint and not issue the complaint.

At the hearing on September 7, 2018 the notion of an Accord & Satisfaction was discussed. There is a statute in Massachusetts that provides as follows:

On June 5, 2018, AN, a 26 year old nurse from Cambridge, was driving from Methuen to Boston. She came to the Rotary at 110 & 93 in Methuen and was stopped at a red light on Rt. 110. Her foot came off the brake and her car rolled into the back end of the car in front of her. AN and the driver of the other car exited their vehicles. The other driver, a 69 year old man with a short fuse, was incensed that AN had struck his vehicle. AN looked but could not see any damage to the other vehicle. Because they were stopped in a lane of moving traffic the man got back in his car and told AN to pull off the road. The man drove his car to the right side of the road and ultimately into a parking lot.  AN followed but then left the scene without exchanging her information with the other driver. The other driver got her license plate number and reported the accident and the hit and run to the police. The police attempted to reach AN but were not successful. Subsequently AN received a citation for Leaving the Scene of a Property Damage Accident.

AN consulted with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover. Attorney Lewin immediately contacted the police prosecutor from Methuen and obtained a copy of the police report. Attorney Lewin also immediately requested a hearing by a Clerk-Magistrate of the Court. Getting a hearing is important as it can avoid avoid a criminal complaint from being issued and it then avoids a criminal record and it avoids going in front of a judge.

Attorney Lewin sent the police prosecutor a lengthy letter detailing AN’s background, her education, her occupation as a nurse and he detailed the facts of the alleged “hit and run” and that the reason AN left the scene was she was concerned for her personal safety given the other driver’s behavior.

On May 18, 2017, BT, a 70 year old retired social worker, drove from her home in Winchester into Harvard Square. BT spotted a parking space on the side of the street. She proceeded to pull into the space scraping the entire side of a car already parked on the street. She got out of her car as if nothing had happened and headed across the street to do some shopping. Fortunately or unfortunately – depending on your point of view – a Cambridge Police Officer witnessed the entire episode. The officer approached and asked BT to return to the scene of the accident. BT accompanied the officer and told the officer she had no idea what he was talking about. The officer told BT to look at the damage to the car. Again she repeated that she had done nothing and she had no idea what he was talking about.The officer issued BT a citation for failure to use care and leaving the scene of a property damage accident. BT received a summons to appear in Cambridge District Court (in Medford) for an arraignment. On August 16, 2017 BT appeared in Cambridge District Court and was arraigned and the Judge suggested to BT that it would be in her best interest to hire a lawyer. Her case was continued to September 22, 2017.

BT met with and retained Attorney Robert Lewin from North Andover. It became immediately apparent to Attorney Lewin that BT was suffering from some mental illness. According to BT the FBI had been following her for 24 years and this interaction with the police in Cambridge was all set up by the FBI. Attorney Lewin obtained all of BT’s car insurance information and then met with the Assistant District Attorney in Cambridge District Court. On September 22, 2017 BT and Attorney Lewin appeared in Cambridge District Court; by agreement the charges against BT were continued generally for 3 months. On December 22, 2017 the charges against BT were dismissed.

A general continuance does not involve any admission of guilt or wrongdoing. It is NOT a plea bargain. The case is simply continued without any admission of guilt and then dismissed. BT was very happy with the result. About a week later BT called Attorney Lewin and went on at length about how the FBI was still out to get her. All Attorney Lewin could do was listen!