After hit-and-run, Fitchburg man tells police he didn’t report accident because he couldn’t afford tow truck

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LEOMINSTER –   On Tuesday, June 20, at 2:52 p.m., Officer Renzo Vasconcelos of the Leominster Police Department was dispatched to the residence located 1145 Elm Street following a report of a vehicle leaving the scene of property damage.

(The account and quotations in this article were taken from the Personnel Narrative of Officer Vasconcelos.)

When Officer Vasconcelos arrived on scene, he noticed that the mailbox belonging to 1145 Elm Street was damaged, as were two ditch safety poles that belonged to the City of Leominster.

According to the police report, the mail box was valued at $500 and the two ditch safety poles were valued at $1,500.

“Please note, the reporting party was not on scene but stated that a black Chevy pick-up truck with MA REG [# redacted] hit the safety poles and mail box and kept driving outbound,” Officer Vasconcelos said. “At this time, I spoke to the owner of the mailbox, Sean Brown, and advised him of what happened. Sean did not know what occurred as his driveway is about ½ mile long. Sean then said he is not too worried about the mailbox as it is cheap for him to fix it. I then told Sean that I would be writing a police report and it will have the license plate to the vehicle that hit his mailbox and that if he wants to, he can request a copy. Sean understood.”

Officer Vasconcelos returned to the station and looked up the Chevy’s registration. The registration came back to a black 2006 Chevy Silverado belonging to Joseph Cheverez, 30, of 1434 Water Street, Apt. 2R, in Fitchburg.

Officer Vasconcelos called the Fitchburg Police Department to get a phone number for Cheverez, but they didn’t have one on file, so he went to Cheverez’s Water Street apartment instead.

Officer Vasconcelos left to speak with Cheverez at about 6:45 p.m.

“When I arrived at Joseph’s home address, I observed the black Chevy Silverado (MA REG [# redacted]), parked across the street from his apartment building,” Officer Vasconcelos said. Later adding, “I knocked on the door to Joseph’s apartment four different times announcing myself and no one came to the door.”

With no answer, Officer Vasconcelos resumed his regular duties until about 9 p.m., when he knocked on Cheverez’s apartment door a second time.

This time, Cheverez opened the door.

Officer Vasconcelos asked Cheverez what he was doing from around 2:00 p.m. – 3:00 p.m. that day. Cheverez said that at that time he was fishing at the Leominster Sportsman Club.

“Joseph said he left his fishing spot and drove outbound on Elm St.,” Officer Vasconcelos said. “I then asked Joseph if he hit anything on his way out and he said yes. Joseph said her hit something but it was nothing major. I advised Jospeh that he hit a mail box and two ditch safety poles. Joseph apologized. At this time, I asked Joseph why he did not call 911 to which he answered by telling me that he did not have money for a tow truck.”

Officer Vasconcelos advised Cheverez that he would be receiving a summons in the mail with a court date and a Massachusetts Uniform Citation for Leaving the Scene of Property Damage. Officer Vasconcelos also handed Cheverez a copy of the citation.

Cheverez was arraigned in Leominster District Court on Sept. 1.

He is scheduled for a pretrial conference on Oct. 12.

Disclaimer: If you are wondering why the incident in this story was from June, that’s because I had to file FOIA request(s) to get the court documents for the incident. FOIAs are time consuming.

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