A 55-year-old Norwood man accused of striking and killing a local educator in a Somerville hit-and-run crash last week allegedly went out for dinner immediately after the collision and brought his damaged pick-up truck to a mechanic shop in the days that followed, according to prosecutors.
Authorities allege Edward Clark was behind the wheel of the black, 2003 Ford F-150 when it struck 40-year-old Allison Donovan, one of two women who was hit while crossing the street in a Powder House Boulevard crosswalk on the night of Feb. 8. The other woman suffered nonlife-threatening injuries, officials said.
Prosecutors say Clark, who was arraigned Friday in Somerville District Court, kept driving and later went to dinner with his girlfriend, The Boston Globe reports.
He was arrested Thursday as Donovan, a popular administrator and former teacher in Watertown schools, was laid to rest.
A break in the case came earlier that day when a Tufts University police officer found a truck with front-end damage matching the vehicle description on University Avenue, not far from the scene of the deadly collision, according to Middlesex County District Attorney Marian Ryan.
Clark, who is the registered owner of that pick-up truck, was arrested after the discovery, Ryan said.
He faces one charge of leaving the scene of an accident causing death, although additional charges are possible as the investigation continues, officials said.
“It was basically just good, old fashioned, boots on the ground police work that allowed us to give closure to the family and to this situation,” Somerville police Capt. Christopher Ward told reporters at a press conference announcing the arrest Thursday.
According to Ryan, a preliminary investigation suggested Clark was driving eastbound on Powder House Boulevard last Friday when he allegedly struck Donovan and the other, unidentified woman, who were in a crosswalk at the Hardan Road intersection, before he fled the scene.
Both women were brought to Mount Auburn Hospital where Donovan was pronounced dead, officials said. The other victim was treated and later released.
“Investigators have worked throughout the week with our community partners to locate several images recorded immediately following the crash of what are believed to be the suspect’s vehicle in the area of Powder House Boulevard, Curtis Street, and University Avenue,” Ryan said Thursday.
Two surveillance video images from Tufts University show the truck allegedly involved moments after the fatal collision, according to Ryan, who said Clark was allegedly in that area Friday night because “he was acquainted with someone close to the University Road address where the truck was seen [Thursday] morning.”
“I want to commend the work of the men and women of the Somerville Police Department,” Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone said at the press conference. “It was relentless. I was kept up to date as well as the council president for the last six days, and they worked as nearly close to 24 hours as you can from the moment this horrible, tragic collision occurred.”
As authorities carried out the investigation Thursday, Clark appeared “extremely nervous” when speaking to Somerville police and provided officials with inconsistent information, according to a police report filed in court.
“During the surveillance Clark was observed leaving his work station, visiting an insurance company, purchasing an alcoholic drink at a convenience store, and then going to a mechanic shop in Malden,” the report says, according to the Globe.
The truck was ultimately seized by police at the shop Thursday after “it was believed that Clark was attempting to have additional work done on his vehicle which would result in the destruction of evidence,” the report states.
According to the report, Clark then incriminated himself by telling detectives he thought he may have hit a construction cone, a barrel, a parked car, or the sidewalk, adding later that “he believed he struck a person and was too afraid to stop at the scene, or come forward after he realized the extent of the damage.”
In court Friday, a not guilty plea was entered on his behalf, the Globe reports. He was released without bail on the conditions that he cannot drive or use alcohol or drugs, the newspaper reports. He will also be placed under GPS monitoring and must surrender his passport.
As he left court, he told reporters he had “no comment.”
Donovan was the K-8 literacy and Title 1 coordinator for Watertown schools. She previously taught at Hosmer Elementary School for over a decade, according to her obituary.
The Burlington native lived in Somerville for the past 15 years and enjoyed traveling and hiking local trails, the obituary says.
A scholarship program at Watertown High School will be created in her name.
“Anyone who has known Allison Donovan will tell you she was the most sincere, compassionate, and loving person,” Curtatone said Thursday. “She touched many lives, not just in Somerville, but in other communities where she taught, where she was an educator or volunteered. It has been a big loss for all of us.”
Curtatone said a vigil to honor Donovan was scheduled for Friday night.
“I want to remind everyone that a human life was lost, a precious one. … There’s a lot of healing that has to take place, and we will do everything we can to support the family,” he said.