Massachusetts State Police

‘Terrible Tragedy': New Details Emerge in Deadly Somerville Hit-and-Run Crash

Zewdu Gedamu is charged with leaving the scene of a crash causing personal injury or death and a crosswalk violation

Court documents released Monday shed new light on a hit-and-run crash in Somerville, Massachusetts, over the weekend that left a 52-year-old woman dead. 

Zewdu Abate Gedamu, 64, told police he exited his car to look for the victim — 52-year-old Somerville resident Cheryl Pauline Richards — after the crash Saturday night, before leaving the scene, according to the documents.

Gedamu also allegedly admitted to drinking a glass of wine at an Ethiopian restaurant where he was meeting a friend prior to the crash. The documents said he apologized to police for violating Massachusetts driving laws and said he was "sorry for the victim."

Gedamu, 64, was released on $1,000 bail a day after turning himself into police Sunday morning. His lawyer called the incident a "terrible tragedy" but did not elaborate, and Gedamu didn't say anything as he left court Monday morning following his arraignment.

Gedamu, of Roxbury, was driving a 2008 Mercedes-Benz E350 when he allegedly struck Richards around 8 p.m. on Mystic Avenue southbound in the area of the Stop and Shop, officials say. He was arrested following an interview with police.

A preliminary investigation suggests Richards was walking in a crosswalk when she was struck. Police say Gedamu did not stop and he continued driving southbound.

Gedamu is charged with leaving the scene of a crash causing personal injury or death and a crosswalk violation. He was booked Sunday at the Medford barracks and is being held on $1,000 cash bail. It is unclear if he has an attorney.

Gedamu was released on bail on the conditions that he would surrender his passport and cannot possess firearms, drink alchohol or drive. 

Further charges are possible, police say, pending the outcome of the investigation, which is ongoing.

Neighbors remembered Richards as a kind person and expressed concern about traffic in the area.  

"I was just shocked, like, you would be shocked, right?" said Daniel Krcmar, who lived in the same building as Richards for eight years and spent a lot of that time getting to know her. "She was a neighbor and a friend and always a lovely person."

"I think that also maybe police need to watch the more dangerous intersections in terms of people running red lights and things like that," she said.

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