Driver charged in deadly Middletown hit-and-run

East Bay

MIDDLETOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — A tip called into the Middletown Police Department resulted in the arrest of a Portsmouth man suspected of driving off after hitting and killing a Newport man last month.

Paul A. Gomes, 23, was taken into custody Thursday on a charge of duty to stop in an accident resulting in death.

Police allege Gomes struck Elias “Joel” Velasquez Chavez, 40, who was riding a bicycle along West Main Road on the night of Friday, May 22.

Velasquez Chavez had succumbed to his injuries by the time first responders arrived, according to police, and the driver who hit him had fled the scene.

Surveillance video obtained by police showed a dark-colored sedan speeding down the roadway just prior to the crash. That information produced several tips from the public, police said, one of which led detectives to a dark blue Honda Accord registered to Gomes.

Police said the car was found at a salvage yard in East Providence with damage consistent with the crash. Evidence collected at the scene also matched the Honda.

Following his arrest, Gomes was held overnight and arraigned Friday morning.

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