Government Police/Fire

West Hartford Police: Reward Now $26,000 in December 2022 Fatal Hit and Run Case

West Hartford Police Chief Vernon Riddick speaks at a press conference July 20 announcing the increase in reward funds to $26,000 in the case of the hit and run that claimed the life of 89-year-old Eugenia Yurovsky. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Police held a press conference Thursday afternoon to announce the significant increase in the reward offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspect(s) involved in the fatal crash that took the life of 89-year-old resident Eugenia Yurovsky.

Courtesy of West Hartford Police.

By Ronni Newton

West Hartford Police continue to actively search for the suspect or suspects involved in a hit and run incident on Dec. 22, 2022, which took the life of 89-year-old Eugenia Yurovsky, and now have a greatly increased reward available to offer the public for information leading to the “arrest and conviction of the person(s) responsible for this crime.”

“We will not stop. We will continue to pursue to the ends of the earth to bring this individual to justice,” Chief Vernon Riddick said at a press conference at police headquarters on Raymond Road announcing the increase in the reward, as he made an impassioned plea for information in the case.

West Hartford Rotary was already providing a $1,000 reward, and the state, with the approval of Gov. Ned Lamont and the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney an extra $25,000 has been authorized, bringing the total reward to $26,000.

Yurovksy, originally an immigrant from Russia who was living in a senior housing complex on Farmington Avenue and Whiting Lane, was using a walker while crossing Boulevard at Whiting Lane on Dec. 20, 2022 at roughly 5 p.m., when she was fatally struck by a driver who then fled the scene.

A memorial to Eugenia Yurovsky, who was killed by a hit and run driver, was attached to a utility pole on Boulevard on Dec. 20, 2022. Photo courtesy of Bike West Hartford (we-ha.com file photo)

Responders provided medical care at the scene, but Capt. Daniel Moffo said at the time that “despite life-saving efforts[Eugenia Yurovsky] suffered fatal injuries as a result of the collision.”

“We’ve exhausted all means of investigative measures – knocking on doors, scouring video, going to body shops, talking to witnesses … unfortunately for us we have not been able to secure an arrest, nor have we narrowed down a person of interest,” Riddick said.

Police said their initial investigation suggests the vehicle involved was a white or light-colored 2010-2015 GMC-type vehicle. It should have damage to the front bumper and possibly the hood area on the driver’s side, Riddick said.

GMC Terrain. Courtesy of West Hartford Police

There was a witness who saw saw a portion of the incident, but immediately and understandably turned their attention to the victim, Riddick said. He said police believe the vehicle slowed down, but did not stop.

Riddick said that Yurovsky is not just a photo on a poster. Her husband passed away about 10 years ago, he said, and while police do not know of any surviving family, “her soul will rest in peace because she has the family standing before you and behind you. The Accident Reconstruction Team has done a fabulous job trying to investigate and reconstruct this crime,” he told reporters.

Eugenia Yurovsky. Courtesy of West Hartford Police.

And to the family members or associates of the individual responsible for Yurovsky’s death, Riddick said, “If you know something, please give us a call. If you have a conscience, each and every day you could be thinking about this each and every day wondering if you should come forward or not. Well the answer is, ‘Yes.'”

Speaking directly to the individual responsible for the death, Riddick said: “As you were driving maybe you saw her, maybe you didn’t. It was an accident. Maybe you panicked. We don’t have answers to those questions, but at the end of the day, someone died and you left them there.”

As they continue to lead their own lives, that individual may be wondering if they got away with something, but may be thinking, “Is today the day police may find me?” Riddick said.

“Alleviate that burden, take away that pressure. Come speak to us. Give your side of the story and we can continue to go forward. At the end of the day, somebody lost their life,” Riddick said. “She’s not just a person on a poster, she’s a real life individual who was walking this earth, breathing and just getting some fresh air at 5 o’clock.”

Riddick said it’s not unusual for the state to contribute to an award like this, and appreciates the assistance. The governor makes the determination if a situation meets the criteria based on statutory requirements, which includes that the incident must be a felony and a sensitive situation.

Members of the West Hartford Police Department’s Accident Reconstruction Team. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

The reconstruction team has not only completed the arduous task of reconstruction but also has has knocked on doors twice, has interviewed the witness, has stopped a few cars that were close to the description, looked at body shops, new car sales, and has expanded their search to other jurisdictions and collaborated with other law enforcement agencies.

“We take pride in closing out our cases,” Riddick said. “It’s frustrating but it’s not a deterrent. If anything it invigorates us and propels us forward to continue to bring justice. It’s not about us, it’s about her. It’s about her.

Riddick said police believe there are other witnesses. “We believe yes, which is why are seeking, and got this money together, that this might be a trigger, an incentive for someone else to come forward.”

“It’s very important,” Mayor Shari Cantor told reporters after the press conference.

Cantor said pedestrian safety continues to be a priority. “We want everyone to be safe, feel safe on the roads.”

She said the town’s Vision Zero Task Force is working on engineering, enforcement, and education and mindset initiatives and more information would be forthcoming.

West Hartford Mayor Shari Cantor speaks to reporters after a press conference Thursday. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

West Hartford Police ask that anyone who has information regarding this incident contact West Hartford Police at 860-523-5203 or via the anonymous tip line email 860-570-8969 or by email at [email protected].

At a press conference one Thursday, Chief Vernon Riddick is joined (from left) by Mayor Shari Cantor, Town Manager Rick Ledwith, Assistant Chief Larry Terra, Assistant Chief Rob Riccobon, Sgt. Ed Jacovino, and Inspector Joseph Buyak. Photo credit: Ronni Newton

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