A former Easton EMT and firefighter who pleaded guilty to a deadly hit-and-run in Fairfield that killed a Pennsylvania woman will spend seven years in prison.
Declan Patrick Kot, 23, was sentenced Nov. 10 in Bridgeport Superior Court for the crash that killed Marileady Morel Araujo, 32, as she was walking her dog on Redding Road on July 4, 2020.
Under a plea deal, Kot was sentenced to 20 years, suspended after he serves seven years in prison. He will be on probation for five years after that, along with completing 500 hours of community service.
Araujo was visiting her fiancé’s family in Fairfield and was walking her dog between 7:30 to 7:45 p.m. when she was struck by a vehicle, according to Fairfield Police. Two passing drivers found Araujo lying in the roadway and called 911. The driver fled the scene before police arrived.
Fairfield Police Quality of Life Unit, Crash Investigation Unit and Easton Police canvassed Redding Road area residents who were able to provide video of the roadway during the time of the crash.
Video footage showed a White Dodge Ram pickup truck with black rims fleeing the area north on Redding Road with a large American flag flying from a pole attached to the rear tow hitch.
On July 7 a Fairfield police officer was on patrol when he spotted a Dodge Ram fitting the description traveling on North Benson Road. The officer conducted an investigative stop of the vehicle. Police arrested Kot a day later on July 8.
Kot pleaded guilty in September to second-degree manslaughter, tampering with physical evidence, both felonies, and evading responsibility, resulting in the death of Morel-Araujo. He admitted to police that he had been drinking before the crash.
The fact that Kot was an EMT whose job was to conserve life, alleviate suffering and do no harm but instead left the scene and tried to cover up the crime by having his pickup truck repaired figured in Superior Court Judge Tracy Lee Dayton’s sentencing decision.
The state and the defense had a great deal of information about the impact on Morel-Araujo’s family and friends and related to the defendant, John R. Gulash, Kot’s attorney, said after the sentencing. Kot had the opportunity to address the court and those present, expressing his feelings of remorse, Gulash said.
“The judge throughly addressed all the complicated issues to fashion a just and appropriate decision and carefully explained her decision,” Gulash said.
The judge balanced the seriousness of the offense with the character of the offender in making a decision that left neither side fully satisfied, according to Gulash. His client will follow the sentencing requirements in as positive a manner as possible, he said.