Man went out to dinner after killing woman in Somerville hit and run, prosecutors say
SOMERVILLE — After Edward Clark allegedly struck and killed 40-year-old Allison Donovan with his truck on a busy street here last week, he didn’t stop, authorities said.
Instead, prosecutors asserted Friday, he kept driving to his girlfriend’s Medford residence, and the couple enjoyed a dinner out as rescuers tried in vain to save the life of Donovan, a veteran educator and former school principal.
Then when police initially confronted Clark, 55, on Thursday, he lied about his whereabouts at the time of the crash, bought alcohol, and tried to destroy evidence before finally admitting to investigators that he “believed he struck a person and was too afraid to stop at the scene,” according to an incident report filed in Somerville District Court.
Clark, of Norwood, was arraigned in the court Friday on a charge of leaving the scene of an accident causing death. Prosecutors say more charges are likely as the probe continues.
Clark wore a T-shirt and jeans and stood hunched over with his eyes cast downward, as a not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf.
He left court with his hood up and repeatedly said “no comment” to reporters waiting for him outside, at one point telling them, “Don’t block my body.” One television reporter asked Clark if he wanted to apologize to Donovan’s family. Clark replied, “When it’s over.”
Donovan’s relatives sat in the front row during the arraignment and silently watched the proceedings.
Her brother, Mark Donovan, told a WBZ reporter that his family wanted to thank Somerville and Tufts police for their work on the case.
Allison Donovan lived near the crash site. A veteran educator, she worked for Watertown Public Schools as a K-8 literacy and Title 1 coordinator. She was formerly the principal at the Lincoln Elementary School in Melrose. Her funeral was held on Thursday.
On Friday evening, a candlelight vigil for Donovan drew about 40 to 50 people, many with their children and dogs, who gathered at the scene of the crash at Powder House Boulevard and Hardan Road.
“I’m so sad that she’s gone,” Allison Goldman, Donovan’s neighbor, told the crowd. “I’m shocked that she’s gone.”
“She touched the lives of everyone around her,” said Honor Petrie, one of Donovan’s former elementary school students, her eyes tearing up.
Others in attendance said the crash shows the need for safer streets.
“It’s such a danger with the congestion,” the Rev. Richard Curran of the Somerville Catholic Collaborative, said of Powder House Boulevard.
The Somerville police report said Donovan and another woman suffered serious injuries when they were struck by Clark’s F-150 truck around 7:15 p.m. on Feb. 8 as they tried to cross Powder House Boulevard.
Donovan was later pronounced dead at Mount Auburn Hospital, and her friend survived.
Middlesex District Attorney Marian T. Ryan said Thursday that the preliminary investigation suggests the two women were in a crosswalk when they were struck.
“Reports from witnesses at the scene described a black, possibly Ford, pick-up strike the two females” and continue driving toward Tufts University, the report said, adding that the truck “made no attempt to stop.”
Cops got a break Thursday, when Tufts police alerted Somerville authorities that a black F-150 parked in front of 7 University Ave. matched the description of the offending vehicle, including front end damage and writing on the doors, the report said.
“Additionally this vehicle was documented as being at this same location just after the time of the accident . . . by a MPD Patrol Unit who queried the vehicle registration,” the report said. “Video surveillance of the area confirmed the same.”
When Somerville police first approached Clark, his demeanor aroused suspicion.
“Clark explained he was not in the area at the time of the incident,” the report said. “He appeared extremely nervous while he provided me with additional information, some of which was inconsistent. Pictures were taken of his vehicle.”
Meanwhile, the report said, police kept eyes on Clark and observed him engaging in suspicious behavior.
“During the surveillance Clark was observed leaving his work station, visiting an insurance company, purchasing an alcoholic drink at a convenience store, and then going to a mechanic shop in Malden,” the filing said.
That’s when cops moved in.
“While at the car shop . . . it was believed that Clark was attempting to have additional work done on his vehicle which would result in the destruction of evidence,” the report said. “Officers on scene conducting the surveillance approached Clark and seized the vehicle as evidence and had it towed to the Somerville Police Dept.”
Then during an interview with detectives, the report said, Clark incriminated himself after receiving his Miranda warning.
“Initially he said he thought it may have been a construction cone, a barrel, parked car, or that he had struck the sidewalk, but later in the interview said that he believed he struck a person and was too afraid to stop at the scene, or come forward after he realized the extent of the damage,” the report said.
Clark was released without bail Friday with conditions including that he not drive, refrain from using alcohol or drugs, surrender his passport, and submit to GPS monitoring. His next court date is scheduled for March 15.
Clark has eight prior surchargeable accidents on his driving record that occurred between 1986 and 2017, according to a history provided by the RMV. He was also cited for a marked lanes violation in February 1984, speeding in June 1984, and driving without an inspection sticker in March 2013 and July 2014, the document shows.
His license is suspended as a result of the fatal crash, records show.