Thursday, July 18, 2024

Manuel Asprilla-Hassan, brother of Roderick “Kito” Jackson, right, at a Dec. 15 press conference in Boston with attorney Thomas Flaws. (Photo: Matt Rocha)

The driver in the Dec. 6 death of Cambridge’s Roderick “Kito” Jackson was indicted by a grand jury Wednesday, Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan said.

Peter Simon, 54, of Woodsville, New Hampshire, was indicted on two counts of second-degree murder and other charges in connection with fatally striking Jackson, a 36-year-old National Grid employee, and Waltham police officer Paul Tracey, 58.

The suspect is being held without bail and will be arraigned in Middlesex Superior Court at a later date, Ryan said.

At approximately 4 p.m. on that winter day, Simon was driving a pickup truck east on Totten Pond Road in Waltham when he pulled to the side of the road, then suddenly turned back into the roadway to try a U-turn, said Ryan and Waltham chief of police Kevin O’Connell. He hit a vehicle traveling eastbound, but kept driving for approximately a quarter-mile before fatally striking Tracey and Jackson at a roadside worksite.

Jackson

After hitting the victims, Simon drove on and hit “multiple other vehicles” before abandoning the truck and fleeing on foot. When he encountered another Waltham officer who had responded to the scene, he pulled a knife on the officer before stealing his police cruiser and again fleeing, officials said in a press release. Simon crashed the cruiser on Winter Street and fled a final time before being arrested by an officer after a brief foot chase, authorities said.

An investigation and a reconstruction of the crash by the Massachusetts State Police Collision Analysis and Reconstruction Section concluded that Simon was accelerating at full throttle at the time of the crash – going around 62 or 63 miles per hour.

Peter Simon has been indicted on two counts of second degree murder, two counts of motor vehicle homicide, armed robbery, armed carjacking, three counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, larceny of a motor vehicle, four counts of operating to endanger, three counts of leaving the scene causing property damage, leaving the scene causing death, failure to stop for police and two counts of wanton destruction of property and resisting arrest.

Jackson’s family – mother Norma Asprilla, brother Manuel Asprilla-Hassan, and sisters Esmeralda Asprilla and Yanthia DeJesus – said Jan. 25 when a judge ordered Simon held without bail that it approved of the court’s direction and promised additional legal action.

“At this point, no civil lawsuit has been filed but one is imminent. The family is working to finalize the appointment of a personal representative for Kito’s estate and anticipates that one will be appointed in the coming days. Once established, the family plans to file a lawsuit immediately and begin the search for answers on how this senseless tragedy could have taken the life or their beloved Kito,” said Thomas Flaws, an attorney with Altman Nussbaum Shunnarah representing the family. The family also wished “to thank the entire Boston community for the overwhelming show of support over the past weeks.”