Loranger is now facing charges of vehicular homicide while under the influence of liquor; leaving the scene of a personal injury or death accident; negligent driving; and possession of crack cocaine, police said. He pleaded not guilty to the charges this week and is being held on a $100,000 bail.
A manager at the restaurant said Thursday that she didn’t recall the specifics of Loranger’s order, then declined to comment further. Police, however, said the manager noticed there was significant damage to Loranger’s car when he came to the drive-through, including a smashed windshield with hair, blood and body tissue embedded in the glass.
“Unfortunately, we see pedestrian motor vehicle accidents that lead to death,” Springfield Police Sgt. John Delaney said. “But I can never remember an accident where there was such impact and damage to the car and the person driving still went to a drive-through to get food moments after the accident.”
Police said they received a report of a pedestrian hit-and-run around 10:45 a.m. Friday on Page Boulevard, in the northeastern part of Springfield. Fernandez was found severely injured, “lying prone in the road,” and was transported to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead, police said.
“After he was taken away,” the Springfield Republican reported, “the victim’s backpack, shoes and scattered papers could be seen near the double-yellow line as police investigated the crash scene.”
Witnesses provided police with a description of the car involved in the hit-and-run. It was spotted within an hour by a K9 officer about a mile from the site of the collision. The officer “could plainly see front end damage and other trace evidence from the pedestrian hit & run accident,” police said.
Authorities said Loranger’s speech was slurred. A breath test revealed that he had a blood-alcohol content of .136 — well above the state’s 0.08 percent driving limit.
“When the officer approached Loranger, he had a one-liter Diet Coke bottle in his hand, which contained a good amount of rum,” said Delaney, the police spokesman. “There was also a small amount of crack cocaine in his car.”
“He told the officer that first confronted him on the scene that an object from a truck fell and hit his windshield, but he wasn’t sure what it was.”
The Boston Herald reported that when officers informed Loranger that he’d struck a person, he responded: “Why wasn’t I told this!”
It’s unclear whether Loranger has an attorney.
The Republic reported that Loranger has been convicted of driving under the influence in the past and “has an open case in Palmer for leaving the scene of an accident.”
Jasmin Fernandez told the paper that her father had four children and eight grandchildren. She described him as a selfless man who enjoyed singing and was known around town.
“He was a human being — he wasn’t roadkill,” she said.
“He wasn’t a squirrel,” she continued. “He wasn’t a raccoon. It’s insane that he didn’t stop and then he went to lunch and got Taco Bell. You’re telling me he didn’t see the big crack in his windshield?”
“He left my father to die.”