Victim in alleged Westport hit-and-run dies as police search for driver

Stephanie Tripp, of Fall River, died after over a week in critical condition, authorities said.

A 30-year-old woman died after she suffered severe injuries in an alleged hit-and-run crash in Westport last week, authorities said Thursday.

Stephanie Tripp, of Fall River, succumbed to her injuries at Rhode Island Hospital following the May 7 incident while the driver remains at large, according to a statement from the Bristol County District Attorney’s Office.

Renewing a call for help finding the driver and any potential witnesses, investigators said Tripp was struck by a man driving a BMW as she walked near 288 Old Bedford Road that night.

“It is now believed the vehicle that struck the pedestrian was a gray BMW 3 Series vehicle,” officials said in the statement. “The vehicle is likely a model from 1999 through 2005, and should have sustained minor damage to its hood, front end, and/or front passenger side.”

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Westport Police received an emergency call around 8:15 p.m. reporting a crash and a “severely injured” woman, authorities said.

Tripp was found face down in the breakdown lane when crews arrived at the scene, according to officials. She was brought to the hospital, where she was in critical condition until her death Thursday morning, the statement said.

A preliminary investigation shows the man behind the wheel of the BMW exited the vehicle after the crash and “apparently told a witness he was sorry and didn’t mean to hit the victim,” the statement said.

“A witness told the driver to stay on scene, but as the witness was providing aid to the victim, the driver sped off in an easterly direction on Old Bedford Road,” the statement says. “Another witness attempted to follow the suspect’s vehicle, which, according to the witness, was traveling at high rates of speed and passing vehicles by passing into the opposite travel lane.”

The BMW was last seen near the corner of Old Fall River Road and Faunce Corner Road in Dartmouth, authorities said, adding that it may have sustained minor front end damage.

Investigators believe that there are other witnesses may have seen the crash or may have information about the driver, they said.

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Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Massachusetts State Police Trooper Phil Giardino at 508 961-1928 or Westport Police detectives at 508 636-1122. Anonymous tips may be sent online or by texting “Bristol” to CRIMES, or 274637, with the tip included.