A Massachusetts woman arrested in connection with a fatal hit-and-run crash posted a $20,000 bail set for her in court Friday.
Fifty-four-year-old Melissa Knight, of Milford, is accused of killing 4-year-old Jonathan Loja on April 16 while he was playing outside at an Easter BBQ on Water Street.
Knight was arrested in Newton Thursday after leaving work at Lasell College on Thursday.
She pleaded not guilty to leaving the scene of a crash resulting in personal injury and death, and obstruction of justice Friday morning.
The prosecutor offered stinging remarks to the judge, saying, "No decent human being would ever do what she is accused of."
Investigators say after her Chevy Traerse appeared on the news, she voluntarily showed up at the police department saying she was on Water Street that day, but didn't hit anyone. She also allegedly claimed the damage on her car was from a tree branch during the winter.
Police say so far there is no evidence Knight was drinking at the time, and that they believe she knew what happened because witnesses say she stopped on a side street before leaving the scene. Investigators also determined that Knight went to a professional car wash in an effort to remove evidence from the hit-and-run, according to a criminal complaint filed in Milford District Court. However, a forensic exam of the SUV allegedly revealed Loja's blood, and a piece of plastic found at the crime scene came from the vehicle.
While in court, Loja's parents and other family members gathered for Knight's arraignment as she stood with her head down behind her attorneys.
Assistant District Attorney Anthony Melia said, "It was just a child in the middle of the road with gruesome open head wounds being cradled by his distraught and devastated father."
Loja family spokesperson Robert Carmel-Montes said, "No one and nothing can bring back their son and yet they demand justice."
Knight's family was also in court Friday morning. Her attorneys described her as a mother who works two jobs. Knight has no criminal record and is a lifelong Milford resident.
Richard J. Rafferty, Knight's attorney said, "She's been cooperating all the way through there's been no evading anything here."
He added, "Her children need her. She needs to work."