Suspect in hit-and-run that killed town employee to be arraigned

Family photo of Karen McHugh

SEEKONK, Mass. (WPRI) — Police have made an arrest in a hit-and-run crash that killed a town official.

The Bristol County District Attorney’s office announced Sunday that police arrested 24-year-old Jacob LaCourse at his home in Attleboro Friday night. Police have charged him in connection with the deadly Jan. 30 crash in Seekonk. He will be arraigned in court Monday.

LaCourse is accused of hitting and killing Seekonk Assistant Town Clerk Karen McHugh, who was walking in the area of 497 Arcade Avenue at about 10 p.m.

McHugh was pronounced dead later that night. The vehicle that hit her fled the scene but left only a small amount of debris; police issued a vague description which was posted in several places around town in an effort to generate leads.

(Photo: Brian Yocono/WPRI)
(Photo: Brian Yocono/WPRI)

Eyewitness News spoke exclusively with McHugh’s wife Sunday. She said she never thought police would catch the driver — even after the family raised a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the case.

“Certainly I hope it was the right person and that my Karen gets justice,” said Sandy Lima. “We couldn’t go out for a Sunday brunch without people going out and talking to her. She was that kind of person. She had a smile that would light up a room. She certainly lit up my life.”

LaCourse is being charged with leaving the scene of an accident, death resulting, and negligent operation of a motor vehicle. He is being held on $500,000 bail until a formal arraignment Monday morning in Taunton District Court.

LaCourse was out on bail on a pending Superior Court case at the time of his arrest.

According to Lima, she and loved ones have spent the past six months reeling over the mystery of who was driving the car that hit McHugh. She said McHugh was honored earlier this month at the Massachusetts Statehouse as an “unsung heroine” for her contributions to Seekonk.

“She was an amazing person, quite frankly,” she said.

District Attorney Thomas Quinn said in a news release that Seekonk Police and Massachusetts State Police, with help from several nearby departments, worked on the case for months.

“I would like to publicly recognize the tireless work of all the investigators in this case, specifically Seekonk Detective Sergeant David Enos and Seekonk Police Chief Craig Mace. For the past six months, these investigators have followed up on hundreds of potential leads and tips. This arrest results from their determination to seek justice for Karen McHugh,” Quinn said.

Meanwhile, Lima said she doesn’t have closure just yet. She said she just wants to see a conviction in the case.

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