NOVEMBER 22, 2013
Last month, Eric Megna allegedly struck and killed a man who was riding his bicycle. The incident occurred at night on an unlit street, and Megna then attempted to cover it up, according to the Plymouth County prosecutor.
Megna is currently a freshman studying engineering at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth. He pleaded not guilty at the arraignment, which took place at Wareham District Court. The family of the victim, Michael Dutra, had to be ordered to the leave the courtroom because of their emotional state. Dutra was 58, and the father of two children.
Megna was released on $10,000 cash bail. He has been charged with leaving the scene of a fatal motor vehicle crash, and his next court appearance is scheduled for January 8th.
Authorities found that Megna left the scene of the accident, which occurred at approximately 7pm on October 11th in Middleborough, Massachusetts. He then drove to Lincoln, New Hampshire. Three days later, he called New Hampshire state troopers and reported that a deer hit his 2006 Jeep Grand Cherokee while he was driving on the Interstate 93 in Woodstock, New Hampshire.
Troopers arrived on the scene an hour after Megna’s call. Megna told them that a passerby had taken the deer. The troopers did not find any vehicle debris at the site, and there was no deer fur on the vehicle.
Megna attempted to strengthen his alibi by emailing a picture of a deer to his mother as evidence of the accident. However, the prosecutor Matthew Libby said that the photo he sent was actually taken from an old posting on a website for pictures of road kill.
Furthermore, paint and debris from the accident in Middleborough match Megna’s car. The police also have emails from the defedant’s father, Paul Megna, sent to the defendant’s mother, Stephanie Saniuk. In the email Paul Megna says he is concerned because of a cellphone call his son made to his mother from south of Boston when he said he was in New Hampshire. In addition, state troopers overhead a conversation at the father’s apartment in Medford when approaching with a warrant. They heard a man telling someone to keep his mouth shut and that the police couldn’t prove who was driving the car.
The authorities also tracked Megna’s trip, starting at UMass Dartmouth, then to where he lives in Middleborough and finally to New Hampshire that night. However, the defense argued that the investigation was inaccurate due to the timeline and amount of travel involved.
During the hearing, the victim’s family shouted, crying and holding each other. They were then removed from court, and not allowed to re-enter until later in the hearing.
Steven Dutra, Michael’s brother, is most upset that Megna allegedly failed to help the injured victim, and left him there.