Suspect arrested in fatal hit-and-run accident
The Johnston Police Department today announced the arrest of a suspect, Zachary Stamp, 25, of Smithfield, in the May 1 fatal hit and run accident on Killingly Street that took the life of 63-year-old Deborah Saritelli of Johnston.
Around 8:45 p.m. Monday evening, Deborah Saritelli had just left the Killingly Street Cumberland Farms after making a purchase with her adult son and was heading back to her residence when she was fatally struck in the roadway.
“The initial footage that we provided to the media was not the correct vehicle,” said Deputy Chief Daniel Parrillo. “We were looking for a small black vehicle in the first part of our investigation. After all the video was submitted to us from all the residents and businesses, it ended up being a small, two door Honda Accord that we were looking for, charcoal grey.”
According to the Deputy Chief, after days of video review and interviews by the department’s accident reconstruction team, detectives, BCI personnel, along with being provided with several tips from the public, officers were able to narrow down their search and were given information that the vehicle may be at a particular residence in Smithfield late Friday evening.
A search warrant was drawn, signed and executed with the assistance of the Smithfield Police Department and the Rhode Island Attorney General’s office. While at the suspect’s residence investigating the vehicle, officers encountered Stamp, who voluntarily responded to Johnston Police Department headquarters.
“Once we saw [the suspected vehicle] it was consistent, and once they started checking the vehicle more thoroughly for physical evidence, it was clear that this was the vehicle involved,” said Parrillo, who reiterated that the investigation is still ongoing.
Stamp is being charged with duty to stop in an accident resulting in death, a felony which can result in a sentence of two to ten years in prison, and operating on a suspended license, fifth offense--a misdemeanor with a penalty of up to a year in prison. The vehicle he was driving was not his own and belonged to a family member, and is currently impounded at the Johnston Police Station. The car had “significant” damage to its front bumper, hood and windshield, with evidence found on the vehicle consistent with the accident.
It’s believed that Stamp’s license was suspended for motor vehicle violations, and that it had been years since his license was active.
“All I can elaborate on is that he said he was scared, he had a suspended license, and that’s why he left,” said Parrillo, who added that Stamp knew that he had struck a pedestrian.
Stamp was advised of his rights, said Parrillo, and then admitted to being the operator of the vehicle on the night of the collision. Stamp has several prior convictions on his record for operating on a suspended license, arrest on a warrant, attempted larceny, vandalism, and shoplifting.
He was arraigned Friday night at headquarters before Justice of the Peace O’Brien and released on $10,000 dollars personal recognizance with a court date of August 1, 2017.
According to Parrillo, the Saritelli family has been notified by officers on Friday evening of Stamp’s arrest.
“They were very, very happy, they thanked us for our hard work,” said Parrillo. “Nothing’s going to take back their mother or their wife. But this is a piece of the puzzle, and hopefully it brings some closure.”
The Johnston Police would like to thank those that contacted the department with potential leads, especially those business owners and residents who provided their video footage which enabled the investigators to track the vehicle’s route from Killingly Street north to Putnam Avenue. Without their assistance and that of the public it would have taken much longer to bring this apprehension to a conclusion for the Saritelli family.