Three plead not guilty to charges in connection with fatal Saugus hit-and-run in 2007
SALEM — A 33-year-old Winchester man pleaded not guilty today to charges that he left the scene of a fatal accident in Saugus six years ago and then conspired to cover up his involvement.
Michael Tranchita Jr. was arraigned in Essex Superior Court.
His father, Michael Tranchita Sr., 55, is also facing charges that include conspiracy and misleading an investigator. A third person, Lisa Cutting, 39, of Revere, is also facing those charges, as well as a charge of being an accessory after the fact. Her relationship to the Tranchitas wasn’t immediately clear.
The three, who appeared in court on a summons, were released on personal recognizance. They are due back in court in April.
A grand jury handed up indictments in late December. Prosecutors declined to say why charges were filed so long after the incident.
Two people were killed in the accident. Tina Tello, 33, of Stoneham, a mother of two, and Christopher Zullo, 28, of Everett. They were trying to cross busy Route 1 near Essex Street when they were struck.
Michael Cowels, Tello’s son, said he was pleased “justice was finally being done,” after years of delay.
“I hope their consciences are eating them alive,” he said. “They’ve been misleading everyone to stall the case.”
He described his mother as a “soul of strength” who has been deeply missed.
Michael Tranchita Jr. has dozens of driving infractions on his record, including more than a half-dozen stops for speeding. His defense attorney declined comment this afternoon.Peter Schworm can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter @globepete.