Nashua woman faces negligent homicide charge in homeless man’s hit-and-run death
NASHUA — A local woman who allegedly struck a homeless man with her vehicle, left him there and later filed a false report to her insurance company has been indicted for negligent homicide after the man died.
A Hillsborough County Superior Court grand jury has handed up an indictment against Cara Smith, 39, of 6 Satin Ave., charging her with negligent homicide in the death of Robert Derome, 63.
Smith originally was charged with a felony count of conduct after an accident for the Feb. 23 incident. That charge was upgraded after authorities claimed she was drunk at the time of the crash, according to court documents.
“Under the influence of intoxicating liquor, Cara Smith, while operating a motor vehicle, a propelled vehicle, collided with Robert Derome causing his death through blunt impact to his head, neck, torso and extremities,” states the new indictment on file at Hillsborough County Superior Court South.
Following the fatal hit-and-run accident, authorities were able to piece together video surveillance in the area of West Hollis and Pine streets where the accident took place, pinpointing the type of vehicle involved in the crash, police said earlier.
A dark sport utility vehicle was identified, and after a tip provided a possible suspect, police said they were able to narrow down the identity of the driver to Smith.
Detectives determined that Smith had subsequently filed an insurance claim maintaining that her Chevy Trailblazer was damaged in a hit-and-run accident, Lt. Denis Linehan has said.
Authorities tracked down Smith and stopped her in the Trailblazer, which was still damaged from the February accident, he said, adding the vehicle had a broken passenger-side head lamp, a dent to the hood and other damage consistent with reports from the department’s accident reconstruction team.
Derome was leaving a West Hollis Street convenience store on foot the evening of Feb. 23 when he was allegedly hit by Smith’s vehicle along the north side of the roadway.
A motorist discovered the man’s body lying motionless on the side of the road near the intersection at Pine Street in a “limited shoulder area” close to a snowbank, according to police.
Smith told investigators that she believed something had hit her vehicle, but she could not explain why she did not stop the night of the collision, police said, adding Derome was walking on the side of the road and not in the direct lane of travel when he was struck.
Smith, who is currently free on bail, will be arraigned on the more serious offense of negligent homicide.