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Driver in fatal Epping hit-and-run knew Dunkin' Donuts worker was still alive when she fled, say police

By JASON SCHREIBER
Union Leader Correspondent

February 09. 2018 11:51AM
Andrea Rich listens to a prosecutor during a bail hearing Friday in Rockingham County Superior Court. (Jason Schreiber)



BRENTWOOD — Authorities say a woman charged in the hit-and-run death of an Epping Dunkin’ Donuts worker last week knew she struck someone, but panicked and decided to leave the scene.

When police showed up at Andrea Rich’s Epping home to question her after she was identified as a suspect, she asked to call her husband and during the call stated, “I think I’m in trouble. I hit someone,” according to a police affidavit.

Rich, 55, appeared with her family for a bail hearing Friday in Rockingham County Superior Court, where she was ordered held on $5,000 cash or bond on a felony conduct after an accident charge.

Rich is accused of hitting Ilene Sullivan, 55, of Lee, while she was outside on break shortly after 3:30 a.m. on Jan. 31.

Deputy Rockingham County Attorney Jennifer Haggar said Rich was delivering newspapers and had just dropped papers off at Xtra Mart, which is located in the same building as the Dunkin’ Donuts on Route 125. After delivering the papers, Haggar said surveillance video shows Rich driving around the back of the building to leave.

Video also shows Sullivan crossing the parking lot to head back inside when Rich struck her, Haggar said.

Rich is seen getting of out of her truck to look at Sullivan on the ground, Haggar said, but then gets back in and leaves without calling for help.

Haggar said Rich continued delivering newspapers until police caught up with her at home after reviewing the store surveillance video and recognizing her as someone who delivers newspapers in the area.

Dunkin’ Donuts employee Ilene Sullivan died Tuesday, Feb. 6, 2018, having never regained consciousness after being hit by a pickup truck in Epping on Jan. 31. (Courtesy)

Sullivan was found unconscious by a customer about 10 to 15 minutes later and was rushed to the hospital, where she was placed on life support and died Tuesday.

Police found damage to the hood of Rich’s truck and coffee stains on the vehicle during the investigation, Haggar said.

During a police interview, Haggar said, Rich admitted that she “was aware that she hit somebody, that she did get out of the car and she saw that that person was not moving, and she panicked. Her panic resulted in her, once again, fleeing that scene and delivering newspapers …”

Rich was arrested about five hours after the accident and was released on her own recognizance, but Haggar asked that bail be increased to $10,000 cash only at Friday’s hearing.

Sullivan’s sister, Melody Bowen, attended the bail hearing and expressed her family’s grief outside the courtroom.

“I am the oldest of six siblings. Ilene was the middle daughter, and we have suffered a tragic loss by losing her in such a heinous way,” she said.

Bowen said Sullivan was loved by the community, coworkers and family.

“I don’t understand what she did. I don’t get it. It doesn’t make any sense to me. I don’t care, even if she was going to leave she could have at least got her help. That 10 to 15 minutes could have saved her life and because she didn’t we have suffered a tragic loss,” she said. 

While Rich has no criminal record, Haggar argued that the seriousness of the case warranted high cash bail, saying she is a flight risk and danger to society.

Defense attorney Donald Blaszka argued that the bail request was too high, insisting that Rich wouldn’t flee while free on bail.

Blaszka said Rich is not employed by a newspaper company, but assists her husband, who is an independent contractor for newspaper deliveries.

He said Rich grew up in Chester and has strong ties to the area.

jschreiber@newstote.com


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