80-Year-Old Driver in Fatal Waterbury Hit-and-Run Arrested

The 80-year-old driver of a fatal hit-and-run in Waterbury last week has been arrested, police said. 

Milton Gooch was arrested on Thursday after he allegedly struck a 75-year-old woman with his car and fled the scene on Dec. 12, police said. She died days later.

"This is a tragic situation," Waterbury Police Chief Fernando Spagnolo said. "I mean everyone is devastated including the suspect in this particular case. It’s just a very difficult situation."

The victim, Geraldine LaPio, was hit around 6:30 a.m. near Nottingham Terrace and Cooke Street, according to police. She was rushed to St. Mary's Hospital, where she was in the intensive care unit with a broken femur, broken hip and a fractured skull.

"I did not know what to do after I hit her, so I left," Gooch told police, according to court documents. He said he was on his way to work. 

Police said it was his responsibility to stop and get help.

"When you are operating a motor vehicle you have a responsibility to stop if you hit something or someone. That is first and foremost," Spagnolo said.

Police said area surveillance cameras helped them to identify Gooch. They quickly learned he had a suspended license as of Nov. 17, 2017. They have charged him with operating a motor vehicle under suspension and felony evading responsibility charges.

"The family would like to take this last opportunity to thank the Waterbury Police Department for their diligence in working toward a resolution to this situation and especially thank Officer Marc Sharoh and his team for keeping the lines of communication open with us during the investigation. We are confident that justice will be served in this unfortunate event and we will now have some closure thanks to their efforts," Danielle Rivard, LaPio's niece, said in a statement.

Rivard tells NBC Connecticut, LaPio would have celebrated her 76th birthday this past Sunday.

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