The 77-year-old driver, accused of motor vehicle homicide in connection with the death three years ago of a Haverhill pedestrian, is serving probation in lieu of jail time.
Haverhill District Court released records on request Tuesday showing that Dimitrios Zaralidis, of 46 Pinedale Ave., Haverhill, changed his plea last Nov. 18 to guilty to motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation. Judge Mary F. McCabe passed down a sentence of two years in the house of correction, suspended in favor of probation until May 2024, and a 15-year loss of license. The man’s car, presumably a gray 2003 Chrysler PT Cruiser identified in police reports, was ordered returned.
Zaralidis was not identified by name until more than two years after the accident even though he was booked Nov. 10, 2020 by Haverhill Police and the Registry of Motor Vehicles had already revoked his driver’s license. At the arraignment last May, Assistant District Attorney John DePaulo told Judge Cesar A. Archilla delays were due to a “lengthy investigation” and partly because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
WHAV asked District Attorney Jonathan W. Blodgett’s office last Nov. 29 for a status update on the case, but received no response. A public records request made by WHAV in 2019 was denied. The district attorney’s office, however, issued a press release last March 26 when Zaralidis was charged, but appears not to have made any further public statements.
Charles O. “Chucky” Burrill Jr. was killed by a hit and run driver Jan. 25, 2019, around 5 a.m., when he was struck while on a Main Street crosswalk near White’s Corner.
A charge against Zaralidis of leaving the scene of an accident with property damage was dismissed and a crosswalk violation was filed after the man was found “responsible” by the court. Court records show a Greek interpreter aided in making the plea.
A Haverhill Police investigation found the PT Cruiser, owned by a Kingsbury Avenue woman, struck Burrill. A witness, who was walking in the opposite direction on the same crosswalk, told Sgt. Kevin F. Lynch he heard “a loud thump” and saw the PT Cruiser continue driving north on Main Street. Public and private video cameras also recorded the accident.
Another witness reported shortly after noon the same day that he followed the PT Cruiser, observing “damage to the front end and the windshield.”
Haverhill Police Detective Sean M. Scharneck later found the car with front end damage at a Kingsbury Avenue home. Zaralidis, who was at the home, acknowledged the damage to the car, but “thought it was nothing.” In another police report, Lynch quotes State Police as concluding “Mr. Zaralidis was not speeding and slowing down when he struck Burrill, however there was adequate lighting and he should have been able to see Burrill and avoid striking him.”