Man Charged in Connection with I-91 Death
Hartford — A Hartford man has been criminally charged for allegedly driving away after striking a Dartmouth graduate student who was lying on Interstate 91 in Wilder and later pronounced dead, Vermont State Police said.
Shane Harlow, 47, could face up to 15 years in prison on the felony charge of leaving the scene of the accident in connection with the Oct. 6 incident.
Authorities said Harlow was not responsible for the death of Mikhail Lomakin, 24, whom police said was lying on the interstate when he was struck at 2:30 a.m., or for causing any injuries to Lomakin. However, police said, Harlow could have prevented Lomakin from being struck by a second vehicle, and did not fulfill his legal responsibility to pull over.
“The consensus of the full investigation is that if (Harlow) stopped, it may have prevented him from being struck the extra time,” Vermont State Police Capt. Ray Keefe said in an interview. “He’s being charged for not stopping, not being pro-active. It could have helped. You can’t just run someone over on the interstate and keep going.”
Authorities are unsure how or when Lomakin died, or how he came to be lying in the interstate.
Harlow, who could not be reached for comment, called Hartford police some time after the incident but was not entirely forthcoming, Keefe said. Authorities did not provide additional details.
Police initially said that both Harlow and the other driver who struck Lomakin, Windsor resident Justin Ciccarelli, 37, had done nothing wrong.
Vermont law says a driver who has “caused or is involved in an accident resulting in injury to any person other than the operator … shall immediately stop and render any assistance reasonably necessary.”
Lomakin, a physics student who had just arrived in the Upper Valley from Groton, Mass., was lying in the right southbound lane of I-91 near Exit 12 when he was hit by vehicles driven by Harlow and, shortly after, Ciccarelli.
The drivers told police they saw a large object in the roadway that they first thought was a dead animal. Neither driver was able to avoid hitting Lomakin, police said.
Ciccarelli pulled over, tried to help Lomakin, and called authorities.
Lomakin was heavily intoxicated and was seen by one witness walking down the interstate, Keefe said yesterday.
The investigation is ongoing and the autopsy reports have not been completed. But Keefe said police may never be able to fully explain the final minutes of Lomakin’s life.
“It’s at the point were we may never know,” Keefe said. “It’s not a clear case, and at the end of the day, we’ve got a young person walking on the interstate, drunk.”
Mark Davis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 603-727-3304.