Two-Year Wait to Bring Charges in Fatal Haverhill Hit and Run Not Unusual Says District Attorney

Haverhill pedestrian Charles O. “Chucky” Burrill Jr. was killed while walking in the crosswalk just after 5 a.m. on Friday, Jan. 25, 2019. (WHAV News file photograph.)

Essex County District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett and Groveland Police Chief Jeffrey Gillen speaking in 2019. (WHAV News file photograph)

The more than two-year wait for charges in the hit and run case that resulted in the death of a 59-year-old pedestrian walking a crosswalk has raised eyebrows, but the district attorney’s office says the timeline isn’t unusual.

WHAV reported first on Friday that 76-year-old Dimitrios Zaralidis of Haverhill faces charges of motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation, leaving the scene of property damage and a crosswalk violation. Carrie Kimball, spokeswoman for District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett said investigations take time.

“It’s really, actually, not at all unusual for it to take so long. It’s one of those things. It’s very time consuming. You have Massachusetts State Police Reconstruction Unit that has to respond to all crashes throughout the entire state,” she told WHAV.

Zaralidis was charged with motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation, leaving the scene of property damage and a crosswalk violation following a closed-door hearing before a clerk magistrate at Haverhill District Court. Kimball said Zaralidis has been summoned to be arraigned Thursday, May 13, in Haverhill District Court. WHAV first reported last January that a then-unidentified driver was cited by Haverhill Police in the hit-and-run death of 59-year-old Charles O. “Chucky” Burrill Jr.

On the court side, Kimball said, the coronavirus pandemic over the past year “did slow it down quite a bit as well” in terms of arranging the clerk magistrate’s hearing and related legal work.

“It was all related to the investigation and then getting a clerk’s hearing where the evidence could be presented in order to obtain a criminal complaint,” she explained.

Several residents named Zaralidis after WHAV reported Haverhill Police took custody of a silver PT Cruiser said to be involved in the accident. Police also obtained a warrant to search at Zaralidis’ Bradford home hours after the accident.

Burrill was walking to the Washington Street bus depot to catch a ride to work at Newburyport’s Anna Jaques Hospital, where he was a longtime custodian. He was pronounced dead at the scene after being hit while in the crosswalk.

A report by Haverhill Police Sergeant Kevin F. Lynch following the accident also noted two streetlights on the northbound side of Main and Water Streets were out and a third was “dim.”

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