WESTERLY, R.I. (WPRI) — One person has died after they were struck by a suspected drunk driver in Westerly late Thursday night, according to police.
Officers responding to the scene on Oak Street near Haswell Street around 11 p.m. found a man suffering from serious injuries.
The victim, identified as 31-year-old Michael Depaola, was transported to the hospital where he was pronounced dead. He was not in a crosswalk at the time of the crash, police said.
The driver, 36-year-old Matthew Lyons, stayed on scene and got out of his car to run toward Depaola, police said. Lyons soon realized his car was still in drive and moving forward, police added, so he ran back to his car to put it in park.
Watch: Matthew Lyons is arraigned in court on Friday (Story continues below.)
Police say they noticed Lyons had, “bloodshot watery eyes, and an odor of alcohol emanating from or about his person.”
Officials conducted a field sobriety test and when Lyons was brought to the police station he blew a .109 BAC, according to police.
Lyons faced a judge Friday morning where he was arraigned on a charge of driving under the influence, death resulting. He was released on $10,000 surety bail and was ordered not to drive.
Watch: Depaola is remembered by his co-workers (Story continues below.)
Depaola was an employee at United Theatre, which first opened on Canal Street two years ago.
“He was one of the first faces that people saw when they came in here,” United Theatre Artistic Director Tony Nunes said. “Everyone who worked with him loved the energy that he brought.”
Nunes tells 12 News Depaola lived nearby and typically walked to work. He said Depaola was working at the theater Thursday night and was likely hit while he was walking home.
United Theatre Executive Director Carly Callahan said Depaola was part of the theater’s DNA.
“No matter how busy we were or what was going on, he just lifted everyone up,” Callahan said.
“He’s been baked into this culture and helped create the culture of what we are here,” Nunes added. “It’s going to be sad [without him].”