Massachusetts

New details on deadly hit-and-run crash on I-95 in North Attleborough

One witnesses saw a man later identified as Joseph Pompei Jr. "get out of his vehicle, make some sort of shrugging gesture, get back into his car and leave the scene," a prosecutor said in Attleboro District Court

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The driver accused of causing a deadly car crash on Interstate 95 in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, on Monday appeared in court Tuesday, where prosecutors said he was seen shrugging before leaving the scene.

Joseph Pompei Jr., a 50-year-old from Cranston, Rhode Island, was arrested later Monday on charges including motor vehicle homicide over the crash, which left a man dead, another with life-threatening injuries and hurt a woman and child. The crash tied up traffic on I-95 for hours.

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Prosecutors on Tuesday revealed how the crash is believed to have unfolded, with Pompei's grey car hitting a white Cadillac SUV as they traveled south on I-95, causing the SUV to "careen through the median" and into a black Jaguar car traveling north.

The Jaguar's driver, 58-year-old Randall Ricketts of Foxborough, died in the crash. The woman and 5-year-old child in the SUV were in stable condition at a Rhode Island hospital as of Tuesday morning, prosecutors said, while its driver was in critical condition.

An arrest has been made in a deadly hit-and-run crash that took place Monday afternoon on I-95 in North Attleborough

One of the witnesses saw a man later identified as Pompei "get out of his vehicle, make some sort of shrugging gesture, get back into his car and leave the scene," the prosecutor said in Attleboro District Court.

Pompei repeatedly shook his head in disbelief as the prosecutor read out the information in court. His lawyer said Pompei "denies hitting anybody," and that he had damage from hitting a tree or grass in the median of the highway.

"He got out, he didn't see any accident, any other cars, got in the car, started the car," the lawyer said.

A judge ordered that Pompei be held on $50,000 cash bail and, if he's released, not to drive.

The scene of a serious car crash on I-95 North in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023.
NBC10 Boston
The scene of a serious car crash on I-95 North in North Attleborough, Massachusetts, on Monday, Aug. 28, 2023. The driver of the black Jaguar car was killed, police said, while the driver of the white Cadillac Escalade was critically injured; a man accused of causing the crash in a third vehicle was later arrested.

Pompei was arrested after an off-duty police detective who heard an alert about a grey car, spotted the vehicle off the highway about a mile away, prosecutors said. The detective "watches as this defendant then gets out of his motor vehicle, attempts to change his tire and duct tape numerous brake lights and such."

The car, which police have said was a Buick Lacrosse, had white paint from the SUV indicating the Cadillac had hit the back of the Lacrosse on the driver's side, prosecutors said.

Pompei voluntarily spoke with investigators but denied being in the crash, saying he'd hit a tree, but was "seemingly incoherent" at times and "did not perform well" on a field sobriety test. When Pompei's lawyer asked if the man was being charged with operating under the influence, the prosecutor said it was "a question for another day."

The prosecutor, in asking for the $50,000 bail, noted that Pompei has a long record from out of state.

Pompei's lawyer had asked the judge not to consider information on the field sobriety test, given that an OUI charge hadn't been filed.

Pompei is due back in court Oct. 5.

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