Stamford police arrest driver in hit-and-run death of beloved ShopRite cashier

Police say Marie Jean-Charles, 74, was killed when she crossed West Main Street around 6:13 a.m. on Nov. 21 on her way to ShopRite, where she worked for 25 years.

Marissa Alter

Mar 20, 2024, 6:58 PM

Updated 61 days ago

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Stamford police arrested a Greenwich man Wednesday in a hit-and-run crash that killed a beloved supermarket cashier as she crossed the street to get to work. Salvatore Longo, 58, is charged with misconduct with a motor vehicle and felony evading responsibility in the death of 74-year-old Marie Jean-Charles. Longo turned himself in to police and is being held on $750,000 bond.
Sgt. Jeffrey Booth told News 12 that investigators identified Longo as their suspect on the day of the crash but were waiting for DNA results from the state lab before getting an arrest warrant. The tragedy happened on Nov. 21 just before 6:15 a.m. as Jean-Charles crossed West Main Street by Alvord Lane after getting off the bus. She was just steps away from making it to work safely at ShopRite, where she was a cashier for 25 years.
“She had a fantastic customer base. Even if there was an open register nearby, customers wanted to wait in line just to speak with her and have their groceries rung up by her,” ShopRite Assistant Store Manager Travis Wilson told News 12 four months ago.
Police quickly released traffic camera stills of the wanted car and said tips poured in from the public, naming both the type of car—a 2003 Acura TL—and the suspect. “People were calling like, ‘Hey, that's Sal Longo's car. I know that guy. I know that car. He drives it all the time,” Booth recalled.
Booth said the Acura was registered to Longo's elderly mother, who doesn't drive and lives with her son in Cos Cob. “That day we went to his house, found the vehicle in the garage, seized the vehicle under a search warrant and that started our investigation,” explained Booth. He said reconstruction of the crash determined Longo was speeding, driving 50 mph in a 30-mph zone.
“The suspect admitted to being involved in some sort of incident in front of ShopRite, claimed he maybe, possibly hit a shopping cart,” Booth said. “He never, you know, admitted to actually hitting someone and leaving the scene.” But Booth told News 12 that blood on the outside of the car was from Jean-Charles, while DNA on the inside of the car matched Longo. Those results only recently came back.
Booth explained why police waited for those results and didn’t make an arrest right away. “When we do a full, thorough investigation like this, and we have confirmatory DNA, we know for a fact, yes, this car struck her, yes, he was actually driving the car at the time. It's a super solid case that is going to be very hard for the defendant not to either plead guilty or get found guilty at a trial.”
It’s unknown whether or not Longo was intoxicated at the time since police identified him several hours after the crash. He’s set to be arraigned Thursday at Stamford Superior Court.
“These cases are very, very difficult,” said Attorney Lindy Urso, who represents Longo. “It was very dark that morning and the poor woman was walking outside of a crosswalk. My client maintains he heard he hit a shopping cart, and that's all he thought he hit.
Urso said he intends to argue for Longo’s bond to be lowered, calling it very high for what the charges are. He said similar cases tend to have bonds of $50,000 to $150,000.
“Bonds in Stamford jurisdiction are notoriously high throughout the state, and I wish I had the time because somebody needs to appeal the bonds that are set on a daily basis there. They're generally outrageous,” Urso stated.
Court records show Longo has two pending cases—one out of Greenwich from 2019 for two counts of third-degree burglary and one count of fourth-degree larceny, and one out of Stamford from 2023 for sixth-degree larceny. Longo also has a conviction for second-degree burglary and third-degree larceny from an arrest by Stamford police in 2019. He received a suspended jail sentence, resulting in three years of probation.


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