PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Providence City Councilwoman Carmen Castillo admitted in court Monday to a hit-and-run on Broad Street on the 4th of July last year.
Castillo, a Democrat who represents Ward 9, changed her plea to no contest in Providence Superior Court after reaching an agreement with prosecutors on the misdemeanor charge.
Judge Richard Raspallo sentenced her to a one-year filing, which means the case will be dismissed in a year if Castillo does not commit any other offenses. She was also ordered to pay $3,500 in restitution to the victim.
The maximum possible sentence had been six months in prison.
During the hearing, prosecutor Taylor Matook said Castillo twice struck another car on Broad Street at 9:50 p.m. on July 4 last year before leaving the scene.
The other driver, who was in a Toyota Camry, said he was in the breakdown lane and re-entering the roadway when he was hit from behind by a Honda CRV. The Honda then side-swiped his car before taking off, according to the police report.
The driver was able to give police the license plate of the Honda, which was registered to Castillo. She was charged with one misdemeanor count of leaving the scene of an accident, and initially pleaded not guilty.
In court Monday, Raspallo asked the councilwoman if the facts read by the prosecutor were true, and she responded that they were. She did not say anything further on her own behalf prior to the sentencing.
Castillo declined to comment outside court, but her attorney Artin Coloian said she intends to remain on the City Council and in her leadership position. He declined to comment on why she left the scene of the crash.
“Councilwoman Castillo is happy to have this behind her and continue to serve her community,” Coloian said.
Under state law, elected officials are only forced to resign their seats in Rhode Island if convicted of a felony, or if they receive a six-month jail sentence (suspended or to serve) for a misdemeanor offense.
Castillo was first elected in a special election in 2011, and has been re-elected to two subsequent terms representing the Elmwood and South Elmwood neighborhoods. She was named council majority whip by Council President John Igliozzi last year, and is also a member of the Finance Committee.
Asked for comment on the criminal case Monday, Igliozzi stood by Castillo.
“I’ve known and worked with Councilwoman Castillo for more than 11 years,” Igliozzi said in a statement. “She’s a good person and a strong advocate for her neighborhood. I expect her to serve out her term and continue representing the hard-working families of south Providence.”
Castillo is term-limited and cannot run for re-election this fall.