SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) — After a nearly six-month-long investigation, police have formally charged a suspect in connection to a hit-and-run crash that killed a town official.
Jacob LaCourse, 24, is accused of hitting and killing Seekonk Assistant Town Clerk Karen McHugh, who was walking on Arcade Avenue at about 10 p.m. as snow covered the sidewalks. LaCourse was arrested Friday night at his Attleboro home after he was turned in by his father and girlfriend.
“The man had a conscience,” said Seekonk Police Chief Craig Mace of LaCourse’s father.
LaCourse pleaded not guilty Monday to charges connected to the deadly Jan. 30 crash. He was ordered held on $1 million bail.
Police said LaCourse hit McHugh while delivering a pizza for a local shop he had been working for. The owner told Eyewitness News he was only an employee for a month.
The vehicle that hit McHugh fled the scene and left only a small amount of debris, but police were able to issue a vague description that was posted in several places around town in an effort to generate leads.
“She was just a superior person, she really was. Loved by everybody,” McHugh’s mother said outside court. “I don’t know anyone who ever met my daughter who didn’t love her.”
McHugh’s wife said Sunday that she never thought police would catch the driver – even after the family raised a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.
“Certainly I hope it was the right person and that my Karen gets justice,” said Sandy Lima. “We couldn’t go out for a Sunday brunch without people going out and talking to her. She was that kind of person. She had a smile that would light up a room. She certainly lit up my life.”
Lima said she will not have closure until someone is convicted of committing the crime.
It was revealed in court that LaCourse has previously been arrested on rape charges. He was wearing a GPS bracelet that placed him at the Arcade Avenue scene.
LaCourse is charged with leaving the scene of an accident, death resulting, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. He’s due back in court Aug. 1 for a probable cause hearing.Neil Remiesiewicz contributed to this story.