A 74-year-old business owner from Watertown has died after a car hit him and fled the scene on Tuesday.
On Wednesday, Watertown police arrested the driver that fled the scene.
Andrew Pighinni, 22, of Watertown, is accused of hitting and critically injuring 74-year-old Miratip Ajro. Family members said he died Wednesday night.
The victim, known as Mike to everyone in town, owns the Country Cinema property.
“He’s got great kids, hardworking family, well known in town. It’s just a shock to a family like this because of the fact that everybody is friends, everybody knows everyone’s family and when something like this happens it’s tragic,” said Charlie Fenn of Watertown.
The hit and run happened on Tuesday night just after 9 p.m. on Main Street.
One day later, there were still orange markers left behind by police to indicate the parking spots related to the hit and run. Police said a couple diners were leaving the restaurant and that’s when they noticed the victim lying on the ground.
Police said the suspect fled in his car, but an officer spotted him and his car less than one mile north of where the hit and run took place.
According to police, the car was significantly damaged and Ajro’s flip phone was found on the suspect’s windshield wiper.
The owner of the restaurant near the scene of the hit and run told Eyewitness News he was also the victim of a hit and run himself six years ago.
“I know the fear, I know the feeling and I know the consequences and it’s just so horrible that people take off. I’m a fireman for 10 years, you don’t leave anybody laying anywhere,” said Angelo Ligi, owner of Jimmy’s in Watertown.
Watertown police said Pighinni will also be charged with driving under the influence. A drug recognition expert believed Pighinni was on heroin the night of the hit and run.
“They come out and they interview people and they’re able to tell what specific drug someone might be on and we had one from Waterbury come in to assist us last night,” said Lt. Tim Gavallas from the Watertown Police Department.
Locals said that part of Main Street can be dangerous for both drivers and pedestrians.
State Representative Joe Polletta said it’s something he plans to look into.
“There was a death a year ago, the owner of the restaurant up the road here. This is the second time that someone has been truck and critically injured in a year, so I’m certainly going to be looking into it and seeing if the state can do anything to remedy this situation and make it better,” said Rep. Joe Polletta.
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