A 64-year-old New Hampshire man was killed and his wife is still fighting for her life when they were hit by a car allegedly driven by a neighbor with whom the couple reportedly had a dispute.
The couple, 61-year-old Erin VanDalinda and 64-year-old Stephen VanDalinda, was walking their dog shortly before 6:30 p.m. on Pine Street in Seabrook, New Hampshire when they were struck by 38-year-old Catrina Costello, police said.
Police are now saying that Costello was driving drunk. Thursday afternoon, Attorney General Gordon MacDonald announced that she had been charged with second-degree murder and recklessly causing a death.
Earlier, Costello pleaded not guilty to charges of second-degree assault, aggravated driving while uintoxicated with serious bodily injury, conduct after an accident with serious bodily injury and violating a stalking order of protection.
The victims' friend and neighbor, Brian Henderson, said he woke up in Thursday morning in shock. He said he saw Costello just after the crash as she drove back into their neighborhood.
"The front of that truck was so damaged, I thought if that hit some people, it can't be good," Henderson said.
Another one of Stephen's friends, Robert Harvey, fought back tears talking about his friend's death.
"He was a nice guy. A nice guy," he said.
"She got in the truck and went after them," said neighbor Bill Powers.
According to a statement realeased by Exeter Hospital, Stephen VanDalinda was a longtime nurse in the hospital's outpatient surgery center.
"Stephen was a lovely man and a great nurse who made magic every day. He will be deeply missed by all who knew him. We extend our deepest sympathy to the VanDalinda family," the statement said.
Erin VanDalinda was critically injured and their dog, Lucy, died, according to officials. She's still listed in critical condition.
A candlelight vigil was held on Pine Street Thursday night in the couple's honor.
"This is no accident," Henderson said. "To me, this is murder, really. I hope it's treated that way and I hope the police will figure out what really happened."
"She deliberately turned around and went down that street, came up behind them at 45 miles per hour, gunned and hit them on purpose," said neighbor Janet Lavigne.
According to court paperwork, Costello's dogs allegedly mauled Lucy and bit Steve back in 2016, prompting the VanDalindas to file a restraining order. Erin VanDalinda told the court she feared for her family's safety after Costello told her, "watch your back."
"They would always be yelling to one another outside and when Steve and Erin walked the dog, when they drove by, they would yell obscenities out and give them the finger," Henderson said.
It was so bad the VanDalindas sold their home and were planning to move in October, neighbors said.
Marilyn Johnston lives just four houses down and says she lost one of her best friends.
"We are devastated," she said. "They're wonderful people, just wonderful people."
The neighborhood is clearly shaken up, and angry.
"I'm just horrified something like this could happen, " said Linda Hirbour.
"I'm heartbroken," friend and neighbor Daniel Kaussner said. "They are moving out because of the bad blood between them. That's my understanding, anyway. It's just awful."
Town Selectman Aboul Khan said he enjoyed talking to the couple and called them pleasant people.
"I'd cut my grass and they'd stop by," Khan said. "We'd talk about all types of things and you know, it's unbelievable. What a tragedy."
She waived her arraignment, meaning she didn't show her face in Rockingham County Superior Court on Thursday afternoon. She was ordered held without bail.
New Hampshire state police and the attorney general's office are continuing their investigation on the incident.
Editor's Note: An earlier version of this article misstated the age of Stephen VanDalinda. He is 64-years-old, not 61.