A pedestrian was killed in Fairfield after being struck in a fatal hit and run accident.
The victim, Marileidy Morel Araujo, was walking along Redding Road when she was struck by a Jeep around 8 p.m. on July 4. Police say the driver of the vehicle sped off following the accident, leaving the fatally injured woman behind.
Media reports say Morel Araujo was in town visiting for the holiday, after nursing her fiancée through a battle with COVID-19.
“She saved his life, she saved his life, so this is very hard,” said Christine Fernandez, cousin of the victim’s fiancée, Danny Fernandez, in an interview with local media.
Fairfield police are asking for the public’s help in identifying the vehicle that fled the scene. Police say it was a green Jeep Wrangler with the top and doors off and a large American flag flying from the rear. A clear marker lens from the Jeep was left at the scene.
Police also say the Jeep has oversized tires and may have visible front-end damage. Two men were in the Jeep at the time of the collision, and police say they are investigating two Jeep rallies that were staged in the area recently for possible links to the vehicle.
Morel Araujo’s family, meanwhile, is left behind trying to pick up the pieces.
“My brother (the victim’s fiancée) is devastated. He is devastated. He cannot think how he’s going to get past this,” said Dr. Denise Fernandez.
An Easton man has now been arraigned in Superior Court in the death of Marileidy Morel-Araujo.
Declan Kot, 22, reportedly told police he was “hammered” after consuming six alcoholic drinks on a friend’s boat. Kot told police he was intoxicated enough to ask his girlfriend to drive his vehicle back to her home.
Once there, Kot told police he felt better and decided to drive himself home. It was during this trip that an allegedly speeding Kot struck and killed Morel-Araujo.
According to media reports, Kot first told police he believed he struck a tree, then later admitted he left the scene after realizing he struck a person.
Kot has pleaded not guilty to evading responsibility involving a fatality, misconduct with a motor vehicle, tampering with evidence and motor vehicle charges. Prosecutors say manslaughter charges may be filed at a future hearing.
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