West Bridgewater

Man Mourns Wife Killed in Hit-and-Run Crash; Driver Appears in Court

33-year-old Juan Leonardo Parra Altamirano, from Brockton Massachusetts was arrested at the Middleborough barracks early this morning.

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A man has now been charged in a hit-and-run crash that left a Massachusetts woman dead.

Jean Marie Coquillon of Raynham is reeling from the loss of his wife, Erpharo Gilbert, and worried about the couple's 5-year-old son.

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"He's still waiting for his mom to come home," said Coquillon. "Always at the window, looking, when he sees a black Honda, he knows that's his mom."

Gilbert was on her way to work the overnight shift as a social worker in Boston Monday night. Investigators say her car and another car made contact on Route 24 in West Bridgewater and both vehicles ended up on the side of the road.

Police say the other driver, now identified as Juan Leonardo Parra Altamirano, took off.

"He was scared because of his immigration status," said Plymouth Assistant District Attorney Molly MacKinnon. "It's noted he's an undocumented immigrant, and he was afraid, so he fled the scene."

After the crash, a pickup truck barreled into Gilbert's car, which burst into flames. She died at the scene.

Parra Altamirano turned himself in early Thursday morning at the Massachusetts State Police barracks in Middleboro, where he was arrested.

He was later arraigned at Brockton District Court, pleading not guilty to charges of leaving the scene of a crash that resulted in death, leaving the scene of a crash causing personal injury and leaving the scene of a crash causing property damage.

"I trust the justice system, and I know he'll pay for what he did," said Coquillon.

Parra Altamirano's attorney, Anthony Riccio, said in court it was the driver of the truck — whom he says was speeding — who's responsible for Gilbert's death.

"I'm just praying for my wife to rest in peace now," said Coquillon.

Coquillon says if Parra Altamirano had tried to help his wife, instead of leaving the scene, things may have turned out very differently.

"It was a big mistake for him," said Coquillon. "He could have saved my wife's life, but he didn't choose to."

The judge ordered Parra Altamirano to be held on $100,000 cash bail. If released on bail, he would need to wear a GPS monitoring bracelet, remain on home confinement, surrender his passport and be barred from leaving the state.

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