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'People hit and run people all the time,' says driver accused of killing 80-year-old man

A man accused of fleeing after striking and killing an 80-year-old man with his car was arrested after giving an interview to a Boston TV station. In the interview, Phocian Fitts called the crash an accident.
A man accused of fleeing after striking and killing an 80-year-old man with his car was arrested after giving an interview to a Boston TV station. In the interview, Phocian Fitts called the crash an accident. CBS Boston/Broadcast screenshot

A 23-year-old Massachusetts man who had been questioned and released by police after a deadly hit-and-run was arrested Wednesday night after he gave an interview to a local TV station appearing to admit to his role in the crash and saying, among other things, that "people hit and run people all the time."

Police say an 80-year-old man was struck and by a driver Wednesday afternoon in Brighton, Mass. When they arrived, the man was suffering from "life-threatening" injuries and rushed to the hospital, where he was pronounced dead, according to a news release. The driver was nowhere to be found.

"Poor guy was crossing in the crosswalk. What a terrible way to go," Boston police commissioner William Evans told NBC Boston.

Police were able to identify the vehicle involved and traced it to the mother of 23-year-old Phocian Fitts, according to the Boston Globe. When police arrived, she told them her son was the last person to drive the car, and that he told her he'd "hit something" before going upstairs, according to the paper. Police questioned him, but released him without charges, according to Patch.

But shortly after he was released, Fitts appeared to give a potentially incriminating interview to Boston 25.

"Right now I’m not worried about nothing, I’m not a stone cold killer, I didn’t do nothing on purpose," Fitts told the station. “People hit and run people all the time."

He repeatedly told the station the collision was an accident.

"As the guy was walking, the light was green, I'm driving and pressing the horn, 'beep beep' - it was either I was going to die and crash into a pole when it came down to it," he told the station. "... I'm a real gangster, not in a bad way, I'm a gangster because I help out the community and I look out for the youth."

Police arrested him later that night and charged him with motor vehicle homicide and leaving the scene of an accident after causing death. At his arraignment, a lawyer said Pitts had roots in the community, was attending community college and moved to Brighton when he was 12, according to Patch.

He pleaded not guilty and bond was set at $10,000, according to the Boston Globe, and was ordered not to drive if he made bail.

"He is very scared because of the accident. He doesn’t know any better. He tried to run because he was so scared," the suspect’s mother told WCVB.

Witnessing a crime and reporting it can be just as frightening as being the victim of a crime. Here’s what you should do if you witness illegal activity.

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