Lawrence man charged in fatal hit-and-run

Plutis.com septiembre 10, 2017 0

Driver fled scene where 11-year-old struck and killed. Eagle Tribune, 

  • Staff reports –

METHUEN — Methuen police arrested a Lawrence man they say was driving the vehicle that struck and killed 11-year-old Jaydee Soto Diaz on Broadway Thursday night.

Steven Toro, 22, of Lawrence was arrested Saturday evening and charged with motor vehicle homicide, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident, leaving the scene of a personal injury accident resulting in a death in order to avoid prosecution or evade apprehension, failure to yield, speeding and negligent operation of a motor vehicle.

At 9:45 p.m. on Thursday, Jaydee was crossing Broadway near Kirk Street in Methuen with her stepfather when a vehicle, allegedly driven by Toro, struck her while traveling at a high rate of speed.

The force of the collision threw her into the path of a Honda CR-V traveling in the opposite direction.

The driver of the Honda immediately stopped and tried to help the girl.

Toro made no attempt to stop before or after the crash and instead fled from the scene down Broadway into Lawrence, police said. Jaydee was taken to Lawrence General Hospital where she was pronounced dead.

After the incident, Methuen police distributed photos and videos over social media and to news outlets.

One tipster reported recognizing Toro and his vehicle, police said.

Police arrested Toro without incident at his Newbury Street address in Lawrence and impounded his vehicle. Police said the vehicle had damage to its left headlight consistent with evidence found at the scene and a windshield broken on the bottom left side.

“The community is our eyes and ears, and information provided to police by members of the public directly resulted in an arrest nearly 48 hours after this horrific incident,” Chief Joseph Solomon said.

Toro is being held at the Methuen Police Department on $100,000 cash bail and will be arraigned Monday at Lawrence District Court.

Methuen police Capt. Randy Haggar said at a press conference Saturday night police had contacted Jaydee’s mother, Jackie Diaz, to tell her about the arrest.

“Obviously, she’s still very saddened by the events of the past few days but was very pleased by the results of the work of our department,” Haggar said.

Police had six detectives and 15 to 18 police officers working the case, Haggar said.

“We were all touched very deeply by the death of this individual, this sweet, little girl,” Haggar said. “We wanted to give a sense of closure to the family.”

According to Toro’s Facebook page, he is a 2014 graduate of Lawrence High who studied mechanical engineering at Northern Essex Community College.

The death of Jaydee Thursday shocked the community.

A memorial assembled by friends and family quickly grew Friday at the accident scene on Broadway near Kirk Street. A candlelight vigil was held.

The girl had just left S&M Liquors on Broadway with her stepfather Thursday night, where he had purchased a pack of cigarettes. Dad and daughter were headed across the street to the Family Dollar to buy glue for a school project — one of Jaydee’s first at the Marsh Grammar School, where she had just started fourth grade after moving back to the area from Pennsylvania.

Seconds later, Jaydee’s panicked stepfather flew back into the liquor store, demanding the address of the store so he could inform 911 dispatchers. Jaydee had just been hit by a driver who fled the scene.

“He kept saying he looked to his right when they were crossing the street, he looked to his right, and when he looked to his left she was on the ground. He didn’t know how to act,” said Chan Ker, a witness to the crash. “He was confused. He didn’t know what to do.”

“Ten minutes later,” said Vechet Svay, another witness, “the wife came running through the fire trucks, screaming.”