Judge keeps bond for alleged hit-and-run driver at $750,000 as horrific details revealed

Salvatore Longo surrendered himself to authorities following his alleged involvement in the death of 74-year-old Marie Jean-Charles last November.

Marissa Alter

Mar 21, 2024, 11:23 AM

Updated 31 days ago


Horrific details were revealed in Stamford Superior Court about the death of a beloved supermarket cashier who was killed last year while crossing the street to work. Salvatore Longo, 58, of Cos Cob, was arraigned Thursday, on charges of misconduct with a motor vehicle and felony evading responsibility in a hit-and-run crash in Stamford.
The brutality of the incident, which killed 74-year-old Marie Jean-Charles, was stressed by the prosecutor in his argument to keep Longo's bond at $750,000.
"The force of the impact severed both the victim's legs and threw her about 200 feet," Assistant State's Attorney Mike Bivona told the judge. "She died on the scene. Instead of stopping and rendering aid or calling 911, he left the scene at a high rate of speed."
The crash happened Nov. 21 on West Main Street near Alvord Lane just before 6:15 a.m. Jean-Charles was crossing the street to get to work at ShopRite, where she was a cashier for 25 years.
Longo's attorney told the judge his client didn't realize he'd struck Jean-Charles and that's why he took off.
"He believed he struck a shopping cart in the middle of the road in the dark. He didn't know there was a person attached to the cart," stated attorney Lindy Urso as he argued to lower his client's bond to $100,000.
"Was there a cart found on the scene?" asked Judge Vicki Cooper.
"I don't believe there was, Your Honor," Bivona responded.
News 12 obtained Longo's arrest warrant, which doesn't list a shopping cart among the items recovered by police on scene. A flashlight was found which police believe Jean-Charles had with her at the time, according to the warrant. It's unknown whether it was on and being used when she was hit.
The warrant also includes Longo's statement to police, which he said he'd left home at 6 a.m. to get a pack of cigars at a store on Richmond Hill when hit something on West Main Street in front of CVS. "I had a green light. I stopped, spun around to see what I hit. I only seen a carriage grocery. I looked at my car to make sure, God forbid, it wasn't anyone. All I seen was the carriage. And I continued on my way. I didn't see any blood or anything else on my car," the warrant said Longo stated.
But investigators claim evidence proved otherwise. According to warrant, police found blood and body tissue that matched Jean-Charles on the windshield and the driver's side headlamp and mirror, while DNA from inside the car was matched to Longo.
"The force of that impact left a very large hole in his windshield as well as a broken headlamp," Bivona said during the arraignment. "When police made contact with him, he claimed he only struck a shopping cart and claimed he didn't see anything else, and that's why he left the scene. But the damage to his car was consistent with that collision."
Urso argued that his client was not a flight risk and takes care of his 96-year-old mother. He also said Longo no longer has a car and would abide by a bond release condition not to drive.
"In my experience, Your Honor, when there's a motor vehicle death case, the bonds are generally $50,000, $100,000, maybe $150,000. I was flummoxed and flabbergasted to see $750,000," Urso said, noting his client's criminal history doesn't include any violent offenses.
But the bail commissioner still recommended a bond of $500,000 after noting Longo's 20 convictions from 2008-2019. Those cases included driving on a suspended license, driving under the influence, burglary, failure to appear and possession of a controlled substance. Longo also has three pending cases that include charges of sixth-degree larceny, driving on a suspended license, fourth-degree larceny, third-degree burglary 3rd and speeding over 70 miles per hour.
Police estimated Longo was driving at least 50 mph when he hit Jean-Charles. The speed limit there is 30 mph.
The judge kept Longo's bond at $750,000, noting, "Even though he doesn't have a motor vehicle, he is a danger to the community." Cooper pointed to Longo's prior failure to appear convictions in her ruling. She said if Longo is able to post bond, there must be a hearing first to determine non-financial conditions.
Jean-Charles' nephew was at the arraignment and said he doesn't buy Longo's narrative about the shopping cart.
"Rather than being a man and taking accountability for his actions, he's running, just like he did the day he killed my aunt," said Stephane Smarth. "So, there's no surprise there."
Longo's next court hearing in the case is set for May 1.

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