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Vernon Dad, Soccer Coach Killed in Hit-and-Run Was to Receive Award; Suspect Appears in Court

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A man accused of a hit-and-run that killed a father of two and youth soccer coach as he was out walking his puppy in Vernon last week had no comment as he left court on Tuesday morning after posting bond and he is due back in court next month.

Vernon police arrested 41-year-old Philip Holmes, 41, of Somers, on Monday and said he is suspected in the hit-and-run that killed 44-year-old Andrew Aggarwala last Tuesday.

Vernon Police

Aggarwala was walking his puppy on Phoenix Street on Tuesday, Nov. 24 when he was struck, police said. He was unconscious when police responded just before 3 p.m. and pronounced dead moments later, according to the arrest warrant application.  

The puppy, Ollie, was missing after Aggarwala was struck and was later found safe on Brighton Lane and returned to his family.

A Facebook post from the Vernon Soccer Club says Aggarwala was to receive its 2020 Volunteer of the Year at the annual award and celebration night in February 2021 and he was also nominated on Nov. 17 for the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association Northeast District Volunteer of the Year award.

Vernon Youth Soccer posted on social media that its Volunteer of the Year award will now be known as the “Andrew Aggarwala Memorial Award” and we have some other long-term plans to honor Andy which will be forthcoming.

The friends of a Vernon father, who was struck and killed in a hit and run crash Tuesday, spoke out to remember the beloved soccer coach

Surveillance footage and a checkpoint police put in place in the area of the crash helped them identify a vehicle-of-interest, which they then seized for evidence on Wednesday, police said.

According to the arrest warrant application for Holmes, police noticed damage on the vehicle when they stopped Holmes as he was driving on Nov. 25 and he denied any knowledge of the crash. He also denied having driven on Phoenix Street on Nov. 24 and said he was driving to a family member’s house when he was stopped.

When police asked him about the damage to his car, Holmes said someone at work had backed up into the vehicle, the arrest warrant application says, and he later told police that had been  the first time he’d heard someone had been struck and he didn’t know what to do.

When police said his vehicle matched the description of the crash and they knew his car was in the area on the day of the crash, Holmes said he hit a mailbox, the arrest warrant application says, and eventually told police he needed a lawyer.

Police documents state that Holmes later told police that he was on his way to a family member’s home on the afternoon of the crash, thought he “glanced at his phone” and thought he hit a mailbox on the opposite side of the intersection and would never hit somebody and leave them there.

Holmes also admitted to battling an addiction and said paraphernalia in the car was not from Nov. 24, according to court documents.

Holmes was arrested in East Granby and has been charged with misconduct with a motor vehicle, evading responsibility causing death and possession of narcotics and drug paraphernalia.

He appeared in court on Tuesday and the case was continued until Jan. 8. He had no comment as he left the courthouse.  

Aggarwala was the father of two children who police said attend Vernon Public Schools.

His obituary says he was active with the Vernon Soccer Club, where he was a coach, field director and board member. He was to receive its 2020 Volunteer of the Year at the annual award and celebration night in February 2021 and he was also nominated on Nov. 17 for the Connecticut Junior Soccer Association Northeast District Volunteer of the Year award.

Vernon Youth Soccer posted on social media that its Volunteer of the Year award will now be known as the “Andrew Aggarwala Memorial Award” and we have some other long-term plans to honor Andy which will be forthcoming.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, funeral services at Ladd-Turkington & Carmon Funeral Home in Vernon are private and there are no calling hours.

A celebration of his life will be scheduled when restrictions are lifted.

In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Vernon Soccer Club and the CT Dog Gone Recovery Volunteers. To leave an online condolence, visit www.carmonfuneralhome.com.

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