BARNSTABLE - The 18-year-old woman accused of hitting and killing a woman with her car in Hyannis Tuesday night allegedly tried to buy a car after she fled Barnstable District Court where she was to be arraigned on a motor vehicle homicide charge.
Police are still looking for Gina Giovangelo of 73 Vandermint Lane in Hyannis after they followed a trail of places where she was spotted throughout the day. A Barnstable District Court judge issued a warrant for Giovangelo's arrest when she failed to return to the court this morning after telling her lawyer she was going outside to smoke a Ciggarette.
A woman fitting Giovangelo's description arrived at AutoSmart on Route 28 in Hyannis in the late morning or early afternoon, said Darrell Fietz, owner of AutoSmart LLC on Route 28 in Hyannis.
A blonde woman in her 20s was driving the car and there was a man, also in his 20s, in the front passenger seat, he said. A woman fitting Giovangelo's description was sitting in the backseat. She had on gray sweatpants, a pink hoodie, and big sunglasses, with "that hood pulled over so you couldn't see her face," Fietz said. Giovangelo arrived at court earlier in the day wearing a pink hoodie and gray sweatpants.
The woman suspected of being Giovangelo got out of the backseat of the car and was looking at a silver 1999 Mercedes ML320 SUV, Fietz said. The man approached Fietz and offered to pay $6,000 cash for the car.
He "basically said, 'I've got cash, we need a car now,'" Fietz said. He "did all the talking. She didn't want to have any contact with us."
The man didn't want to test drive the car, and balked at the idea of an AutoSmart employee making a copy of his driver's license, Fietz said. A short time later the man told Fietz they would return later to get the car. The pair got back into the Accord and drove away.
About 10 minutes after they left, Fietz heard a description of Giovangelo on the radio and called the police. "It was too much of a coincidence not to call the police."
Police put out an emergency radio alert at about 2:30 p.m. that they were looking for a four-door, white Honda Accord in Hyannis. At about 3 p.m., police were at a house on Oak Ridge Road in Osterville, where a white Honda sat in the driveway, but they later indicated Giovangelo was not there.
Giovangelo disappeared from the courthouse at about 10:30 a.m., her attorney Russell Redgate said. Nobody noticed she had left the area until about an hour later, he said.
Giovangelo faces charges of motor vehicle homicide and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in death. Officials said they did not know whether she left on foot or in a car.
On Tuesday night at about 10 p.m., Giovangelo allegedly struck 47-year-old Lillian White of Hyannis as White was crossing North Street in her motorized wheelchair. White was returning home after going to the White Hen Pantry convenience store at the time of the accident. Police said White was hit and dragged about 50 feet.
White died early Wednesday morning at Cape Cod Hospital. She is survived by seven children and three grandchildren.
Redgate expressed his concern for Giovangelo's well-being: "She's a young girl. She's very frightened, very apprehensive, very emotional. ... This is not a good decision."
When Giovangelo arrived at the courthouse this morning she was met by Redgate, who took her arm, and her parents. A mob of news media cameras and reporters were also on the courthouse steps and followed her inside.
Cape and Islands Assistant District Attorney Matthew Kelly declined to comment on Giovangelo's disappearance as did Sgt. Andrew McKenna of the Barnstable Police Department.
On Thursday morning, Yarmouth police found a section of White's motorized wheelchair in the parking lot of the Holly Tree Resort Hotel on Route 28 in West Yarmouth, according to a police report.
Tuesday night prior to the accident, Giovangelo was at the hotel with friends and had been drinking cognac, the report said. At about 9:30 p.m. she and at least one other person went to a convenience store on North Street in Hyannis, according to the report. The 2007 Gray Nissan Altima that Giovangelo was driving was recorded on tape by a surveillance camera at the store and did not have any front end damage, according to the report.
Witnesses at the scene of the accident said that a small dark car struck White and that the driver failed to stop and check on White's condition, according to the report.
A witness, who was a passenger in the car, later told police that Giovangelo was driving down North Street when she hit something, which caused the airbags in the car to deploy, according to the report. The passenger told police that she saw a pocketbook on the windshield and concluded that they had hit someone.
They returned to the Holly Tree Resort Hotel where witnesses told police the car Giovangelo was driving had front end damage, according to the police report.
On Thursday night, Giovangelo was stopped by police on Route 132 in Hyannis while driving a family member's car, according to the police report. She was placed under arrest and bail was set at $10,000 but was later released.
The 2007 Nissan Altima was found by police Thursday night parked in a commercial parking lot off of Independence Drive in Barnstable, according to the report. The car had front-end damage.
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