Man charged in Westerly hit-and-run

Photo courtesy of Westerly Police Department

A Westerlyman has been charged with intentionally ramming his car into another man he sawwalking with his ex-girlfriend.

Policecharged 23-year-old Darrel Northup early Wednesday with felony assault with adangerous weapon and failure to stop at an accident resulting in injury ordeath. The victim survived, suffering several broken teeth and hip pain.

Authoritiessaid Northup saw his ex-girlfriend leave a holiday party Tuesday night with thevictim, 27-year-old William Cossia, of Westerly, and intentionally struck himwith his car on Canal Street. Police said Northup fled the scene, leavingCossia lying in the street injured and bleeding.

State Sen.Ed O'Neill, I-Lincoln, said Thursday he wants Northup and other suspects toface harsher penalties for leaving the scene of an accident.

"Peoplefor various reasons drive off," he said. "I think they feel that the penaltiesare not that severe and take their chances."

O'Neillsaid he wants to double the fines and jail time. Currently, someone convictedof a hit-and-run accident could face up to five years in prison or a $5,000fine.

ChiefEdward St. Clair of the Westerly Police Department said tougher fines mightwork.

"Ithink there will always be domestic disputes," O'Neill said. "There will beissues with police activity but sometimes these people are left to die. Theydo die at times."

O'Neillsaid he plans to introduce legislation soon.

Northup isbeing detained on bail. It's not clear if he has a lawyer.

NBC 10's Cierra Putman and theAssociated Press contributed to this report.