Driver suspected of killing Conn College student in hit-and-run - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Driver suspected of killing Conn College student in hit-and-run pleads not guilty

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James Sposito was charged in a deadly hit-and-run that killed a Connecticut College student. (WFSB/New London Police) James Sposito was charged in a deadly hit-and-run that killed a Connecticut College student. (WFSB/New London Police)
NEW LONDON, CT (WFSB) -

A driver accused of hitting and killing a Connecticut College student in New London plead not guilty in court on Thursday.

Court officials said James Sposito faces charges for the hit-and-run death of 20-year-old Anique Ashraf on Dec. 18.

Friends of Sposito said he had been drinking at several bars before the incident.

Police said that not only did he flee the scene, but he tried to keep friends and witnesses from speaking to them. They said he also tampered with evidence.

Ashraf, who was a native of Pakistan, was on his way back to his Connecticut College dorm after a night of celebrating with friends. He had attended a film exhibition, according to police.

Investigators said a Chrysler 200, driven by Sposito, hit and killed Ashraf in the area of Route 32 then kept going.

They said Sposito found Ashraf's backpack strap on his windshield but continued to tell them he hit a deer.

According to an arrest warrant, Sposito visited a friend after it happened and realized it wasn't a deer.

"She then observed Sposito checking the Internet/news links on his cellular phone at which she inquired as to what he was doing," the warrant said. "At this time, Sposito told witness #4 'I think I hit a person.'" 

Police said he tried to keep friends and witnesses from speaking with police. He allegedly tampered with evidence found on his rental car that was damaged.

The victim's friends continue to remember Ashraf.

"He was very vibrant, brave brave guy,"  Connecticut College junior Annika Tucksmith said. "Funny, really bright."

Notes and flowers marked the spot where Ashraf was hit.    

"It's very dangerous there's a lot of speeding around this area," Tucksmith said. "Even when I'm driving, I get really anxious. There's a lot of speeding here."

"The crossing light it starts blinking before you start walking and get halfway across the street," Connecticut College senior Hannah Metzel said. "I've seen people run red lights here."

Both New London, the state and the college have gotten together to make lighting and safety improvements for pedestrians

"The College has helped out the City of New London, so we could purchase a new speed trailer," New London Mayor Mike Passero said. "Those are the ones that have the digital lights telling and making people aware how fast you're going and what the speed limit is supposed to be an and it also helps us track the statistics the traffic statistics on the road."

Sposito was arraigned at New London Superior Court on Thursday morning where it took him 95 seconds to enter a plea of not guilty. Following his court appearance, he is out on a $150,000 bond and cannot operate a motor vehicle without a valid driver's license. His next court appearance is March 8. 

The judge did give Sposito a stern warning that if he's found to be driving without a valid license, he'll haul him back in court and raise his bond.

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    Thursday, January 21 2016 10:10 PM EST2016-01-22 03:10:15 GMT
    James Sposito is being charged in a deadly hit-and-run that killed a Connecticut College student (WFSB/New London Police)James Sposito is being charged in a deadly hit-and-run that killed a Connecticut College student (WFSB/New London Police)
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