A Paoli man has been charged in connection with the hit-and-run accident that killed a pedestrian in Radnor on March 6.

Kevin Gaughan (right), with attorney Robert Donatoni, turns himself in to Radnor police.
BARBARA BOYER
Kevin Gaughan (right), with attorney Robert Donatoni, turns himself in to Radnor police.

Kevin Gaughan, 30, arrived at the Radnor Police Department about 11 a.m. with his West Chester attorney, Robert Donatoni. He is accused of driving a vehicle that fatally struck Frederick Gitterman, 69, of Delaware County. Gitterman was crossing the busy commercial strip along the 500 block of East Lancaster Avenue when he was hit shortly after 8 p.m. The driver was passing through a green light and had the right of way, officials said.

Delaware County District Attorney  Katayoun M. Copeland called Gaughan a "cold-hearted perpetrator" who hit Gitterman, "leaving him to die in the middle of the road."

"All he had to do is stop and help, and we wouldn't be here," Copeland said. Instead, she said, he drove home and 24 minutes after striking Gitterman, called his insurance company to report that a street sign blew into his vehicle and caused serious damage, Copeland said.

Gaughan faces charges that include leaving the scene of a fatal accident and insurance fraud. If convicted, he faces a potential sentence of up to 20 years. The prosecutor said officials confirmed that Gaughan was on his way home from work on the night of the accident. Although the accident remains under investigation, police said it does not appear that alcohol was involved.

Dressed in a dark suit and orange tie, Gaughan, a tax preparer, declined to answer questions as he walked past reporters to enter the police station and again as he left with his hands cuffed at his waist, with officers at both sides, and was put into a marked cruiser.

Shortly afterward, he was brought to Newtown Square for his first appearance in District Court, where bail was set at $500,000. Judge Lee Hunter allowed Gaughan to post bond and remain free with home monitoring. He was ordered to turn in his passport.

Gaughan did not speak in court other than to answer questions posed by the judge. He cried as his attorney spoke about the accident.

Police said Gitterman was walking to his car after having dinner at the nearby Harvest Seasonal Grill on Lancaster Avenue when he was hit. Gaughan slowed down after hitting Gitterman, but was then seen driving off to the west, police said. His vehicle turned southwest onto Paoli Pike toward West Chester.

Investigators quickly built a case using surveillance cameras in the area and vehicle parts they found at the accident scene that are specific to a late-model white GMC Yukon.

Last Friday evening, police announced a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest. Shortly afterward, they received a tip about a damaged vehicle at a body shop that matched the description of the SUV police described. Gaughan was identified as the SUV's owner.

According to his Facebook page, Gaughan is employed by a tax firm in Bryn Mawr. He has posted pictures of himself with his wife, whom he married in 2015, and of the couple with their young daughter, who is almost 2.

Gaughan grew up near Scranton and graduated from Lock Haven University, his attorney said. He also attended Philadelphia University and was working toward obtaining credentials to be a certified public accountant, he said.

An obituary for Gitterman identified him as a Philadelphia native who attended University of Wisconsin and later the University of California Berkeley School of Law, where he received his law degree.

A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. Friday at Congregation Beth Yeshua Messianic Synagogue, 7501 Haverford Ave.