Woman charged in 2-year-old Saugus hit and run death
SAUGUS, Mass. -- A Saugus woman appeared in court on Monday and was charged in a hit and run that killed a well-known caterer two years ago.
The victim’s family say for two years they never gave up hope. But even with the arrest the ordeal drags on and many questions remain unanswered.
Steffany Barbanti, 24, was arrested Saturday -- exactly two years to the day after 81-year-old Christos Agganis was hit.
“How could someone not stop? Whoever hit Uncle Chris, or anybody, how could someone just leave the scene and leave someone there that was in need?” asked Rena Agganis, the victim’s niece.
Christos Agganis was killed when he walked across the street from his family’s Saugus restaurant. On Monday, his family was relieved, but they called it bittersweet.
“The not knowing was worse than anything because my parents [are] very nice people. It’s just, not knowing, just killed us, killed the whole family, but it’s better now,” said Angelo Agganis, the victim’s nephew.
Barbanti was allegedly texting at the time of the crash. Her friends say something’s off in the case because she drives a white car, yet initial reports said Christos Agganis was struck by a dark SUV, leaving them suspicious of the charges and the tipster who called police.
“She would not be able to live with herself if she did that. No way. Not at all,” said Lindsay Giordano, the suspect’s friend.
Christos Agganis’ family originally offered a $5,000 reward, but on the second anniversary they doubled it to $10,000. That’s when investigators got the tip and arrested Barbanti. Barbanti’s lawyer said they’ve made a terrible mistake.
“I don’t have a trump card; my client says she didn’t do it. She wasn’t there,” said Barbanti’s lawyer.
Barbanti pleaded not guilty to the charges. She posted $7,500 bail and was ordered not to drive. If Barbanti is convicted she will face up to 10 years in prison.
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