18-year-old faces charges in fatal hit-and-run

Michael Dutra

A teenager accused of making up a story to hide his alleged involvement in a deadly hit-and-run crash walked out of a Wareham courtroom Thursday after posting $10,000 cash bail.

Eric Megna pleaded not guilty at his arraignment to a charge of leaving the scene of a fatal accident.

Megna, 18, and his mother avoided television cameras and reporters' questions about what police are calling an elaborate scheme to cover up a crash in Middleborough that killed 58-year-old Michael Dutra, a father of two daughters.

"They took something that we can't get back. At this point, he didn't look upset" daughter Michelle Dutra said.

Megna is accused of hitting Dutra, who was on a bicycle, with his Jeep and fleeing to his parents' vacation home in New Hampshire on Oct. 11.

Days later, Megna reported having hit a deer. Police said he sent a picture of a dead deer to his mother, but investigators determined the image was pulled from the Internet.

Police said the damage to the Jeep was consistent with hitting a person.

"The time doesn't work out ... It certainly doesn't work out with a long holiday weekend on a Friday night. The long and the short of it, judge, is in reading that there's just way too many inconsistencies and a lot of it is not explained," defense attorney David Sorrenti said.

A slipup by the defense attorney caused an emotional outburst from Dutra's daughters, forcing the judge to ask for a recess.

"He mistakenly said that Mr. Dutra would be present during all the trials. As we know my dad won't be there," Michelle Dutra said. "What he meant to say is Mr. Megna would be."

Megna, a freshman at the University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, could face a minimum of one year in prison. He's due back in court for a pretrial hearing Jan. 8.