BOSTON - Police arrested a man in a deadly hit and run after telling a local television station "people hit and run people all the time." Phocian Fitts, 23, pleaded not guilty Thursday to vehicular homicide and leaving the scene of a fatal accident in connection with the death Wednesday of an 80-year-old man who was walking across a street in the Allston neighborhood.
Fitts was questioned by police but released after refusing to cooperate. After his release he spoke candidly about the incident to WFXT news, saying, "Right now I'm not worried about nothing...I'm not a stone cold killer, I didn't do nothing on purpose...Accidents happen."
The station reports that Fitts was arrested soon after the interview aired.
According to CBS Boston, another driver's dashboard camera showed Fitts hitting and killing Ted Schwalb, who family described as a "compassionate bon vivant," then leaving the scene.
Fitts' damaged Jeep Cherokee was found about a mile away with a cracked windshield and front-end damage.
"The dash cam footage depicts the Jeep accelerating at a high rate of speed with no cars in front of it or next to it," said prosecutors.
CBS Boston reports that prosecutors said that Fitts admitted that he was going too fast and honked for the elderly man to get out of the way as he drove through a green light. The 23-year-old drove to his mother's house and told her he was "upset" because he hit something.
"He admitted to seeing the pedestrian walking in the crosswalk and honking his horn, but suggested that he couldn't avoid the pedestrian and when it came down to it, accidents happen," said prosecutor Emily Hamrock.
Schwalb was a retired art teacher from Stoneham High School. He taught at the school for more than three decades until his retirement in 2000. "He taught hundreds of students and inspired many of them to be better people and artists," Principal Donna Cargill said.
Alexander Star, Schwalb's nephew, said, "This is a man who made an art out of his life."
During his arraignment, Fitts' defense attorney argued that he is not a flight risk and asked for $2,500 bail. Fitts is on federal probation from a 2014 case where he was convicted of beating a mailman. Prosecutors asked a judge to hold Fitts on $15,000, but bail was set $10,000.