Man charged in Westerly hit-and-run - News, Weather and Classifieds for Southern New England

Man charged in Westerly hit-and-run

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Photo courtesy of Westerly Police Department Photo courtesy of Westerly Police Department

A Westerly man has been charged with intentionally ramming his car into another man he saw walking with his ex-girlfriend.

Police charged 23-year-old Darrel Northup early Wednesday with felony assault with a dangerous weapon and failure to stop at an accident resulting in injury or death. The victim survived, suffering several broken teeth and hip pain.

Authorities said Northup saw his ex-girlfriend leave a holiday party Tuesday night with the victim, 27-year-old William Cossia, of Westerly, and intentionally struck him with his car on Canal Street. Police said Northup fled the scene, leaving Cossia lying in the street injured and bleeding.

State Sen. Ed O'Neill, I-Lincoln, said Thursday he wants Northup and other suspects to face harsher penalties for leaving the scene of an accident.

"People for various reasons drive off," he said. "I think they feel that the penalties are not that severe and take their chances."

O'Neill said he wants to double the fines and jail time. Currently, someone convicted of a hit-and-run accident could face up to five years in prison or a $5,000 fine.

Chief Edward St. Clair of the Westerly Police Department said tougher fines might work.

"I think there will always be domestic disputes," O'Neill said. "There will be issues with police activity … but sometimes these people are left to die. They do die at times."

O'Neill said he plans to introduce legislation soon.

Northup is being detained on bail. It's not clear if he has a lawyer.

NBC 10's Cierra Putman and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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