The man accused of killing a pedestrian with an SUV in Boston's Roxbury neighborhood early Thursday morning appeared in court on charges including murder Friday, and new details were revealed in the case.
The victim was identified as Thomas Ruffen, and his suspected killer, Maximo Mazanett, is accused of running over the victim.
Witnesses told police that the SUV's driver, wearing a yellow vest, was warned by an MBTA bus driver that there was a man lying in the road, but cursed at the driver and drove over the man, dragging him, according to court documents. The bus driver said SUV's driver told her, "I work for the city."
Mazanett, a 54-year-old Hyde Park resident, is an MBTA operator, according to payroll data. An MBTA representative said he was hired in 2017 and is being suspended.
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The deadly crash was reported around 4:40 a.m. Thursday on Centre Street near Columbus Avenue. It prompted a large police presence and impacted traffic for hours. The Suffolk County District Attorney's Office initially identified the suspect with a different spelling, Maximo Manzette.
Prosecutors said Thursday that Mazanett was aware of Ruffin's presence while behind the wheel. The SUV involved in the crash remained at the scene, police said.
Ruffen, a 39-year-old who lives in the area and works for nonprofits focused on civic engagement and empowering youth, was seen on surveillance camera falling down in the street, prosecutors said. That's when Mazanett allegedly drove over Ruffen, ignoring the warning from the MBTA bus driver.
His lawyer argued it was an accident.
"He's very upset," attorney Neil Tassel said. "This is an exemplary man, a man who works for the MBTA who has no criminal history at all who was involved in a terrible terrible traffic accident."
Mazanett was ordered held on $250,000 bail and ordered to surrender his passport and not to drive, prosecutors said.
Suffolk County District Attorney Kevin Hayden called Mazanett's decisions "heartless and pitiless" in a statement Friday.
"Instead of waiting for an unusual roadway situation to be resolved he made the decision to drive forward, knowing full well the consequences involved," he said.
Ruffen's neice, Tatiana Magazine, called him a devoted father and lover of his community.
"He's one of those people you feel is really here to help the world," she said. "He'd just keep giving back and that's what he kept doing."
Neighbors say the intersection can be dangerous.
"That street there, this is like the fourth incident that happened in the matter of a solid three to four months," Bridgette Caban of Roxbury said.