LAWRENCE, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts man who prosecutors say was behind the wheel of a vehicle that hit and killed an 11-year-old girl and left the scene has appeared in court.
Emotions ran high after not-guilty pleas were entered on behalf of Steven Toro, of Lawrence, to motor vehicle homicide and other offenses at his arraignment Monday. Relatives of the victim, Jadee Soto, were in attendance.
One of Jadee’s aunts reportedly became emotional at the end and had to be restrained. Another relative later collapsed to the ground and had to be put in an ambulance.
Jadee’s mother wept as she was being driven away.
Authorities say Jadee died after she was struck in Methuen Thursday as she and her father stepped into the street.
Toro’s lawyer argues his client is innocent.
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METHUEN — Chief Joseph Solomon reports that the Methuen Police Department has arrested the alleged driver of a vehicle that struck and killed an 11-year-old girl on Thursday evening.
STEVEN TORO, AGE 22, OF LAWRENCE was arrested Saturday evening and charged with:
- Motor Vehicle Homicide
- Leaving the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident
- Leaving the Scene of a Personal Injury Accident Resulting in a Death in Order
- to Avoid Prosecution or Evade Apprehension
- Failure to Yield
- Negligent Operation of a Motor Vehicle
At 9:45 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 7, 11-year-old Jadee Soto was crossing Broadway near Kirk Street in Methuen with her father when a vehicle, allegedly driven by TORO, struck her at a high rate of speed.
TORO allegedly made no attempt to stop before or after the crash and instead fled from the scene down Broadway into Lawrence. Soto was taken to Lawrence General Hospital where she was pronounced dead.
After the incident, the Methuen Police Department urgently took to social media and distributed photos and videos to the news media. A flurry of tips came in, and one of the tips led police to TORO.
“The community is our eyes and ears, and information provided to police by members of the public directly resulted in an arrest nearly 48 hours after this horrific incident,” Chief Solomon said.
TORO is being held on $100,000 cash bail at the Methuen Police Department and will be arraigned Monday at Lawrence District Court