The Massachusetts man suspected in a hit-and-run crash in Westport earlier this month that resulted in the death of a Fall River woman has turned himself in to police.
Westport police said Gerardo Lugo, 54, of Fall River, was accompanied by two family members when he arrived at the police department Wednesday afternoon. He was immediately arrested.
"I said to myself, 'How does this guy sleep at night?'"
Andrew Motta, who saw the accident take place and ran after the suspect, says this is a big relief to him.
"It looked like the guy blew out a tire in front of me. I came upon the car. I'm like, 'Oh my God that's a girl on the side of the road.'"
Motta says the driver got out of his car at first.
"I said, 'Oh okay. The guy's coming over, and I saw him turn and get in the car. I'm like, 'Go, go, go!'"
Motta said he got in his car and chased the suspect, but he was going too fast.
"He did not care what he did to get away," Motta said.
He ended up chasing the suspect for several miles but lost the driver in traffic.
Two weeks after the accident, investigators zeroed in on Lugo when an anonymous tip led them to his BMW, which was parked on Cherry Street in Fall River.
Authorities said several additional tips from the public regarding Lugo's whereabouts also helped them in their investigation, including one from a Rhode Island casino.
Neighbors say home security cameras show that the BMW had been there for 10 days.
"They were all over the car. They were looking on the car, they were trying to see if they could open the car," Lugo's neighbor Roseann Gomes said.
After finding the BMW, authorities executed a search warrant at Lugo's apartment, also on Cherry Street. They found the keys to the car and 200 grams of what is believed to be heroin.
But there was no sign of Lugo.
Authorities then released his photo and name on Tuesday, asking for leads from the public. On Wednesday, Lugo turned himself in.
Lugo has been charged with leaving the scene-death resulting, negligent operation of a motor vehicle and driving with a suspended license. He is also facing trafficking heroin charges.
Thirty-year-old Stephanie Tripp, of Fall River, was hit by a car on May 7 on Old Bedford Road, according to authorities. Police responded to a call about the crash around 8:15 p.m. and found Tripp lying facedown in the breakdown lane.
Tripp was was taken to Rhode Island Hospital in critical condition and died from her injuries about a week later.
The district attorney's office said during the execution of a search warrant at Lugo's apartment last week, investigators found the keys to the BMW and a plastic bag containing about 200 grams of suspected heroin.
"This arrest can finally bring some closure to the family of Stephanie Tripp," Westport Police said in a statement.
Lugo is expected to be arraigned Thursday in Fall River District Court. It's unclear if he has an attorney.